• Centre offers only skeletal services
• Lacks basic equipment and staff
The 36-year-old Olorunda PHC
For the fifteen communities of Ikorodu North, Lagos State, access to quality health care services remains a mirage. 36 years after the only s facility, Olorunda Primary Healthcare Center, was established to serve the communities, it has failed to render optimal service and remains abandoned, dilapidated, and overtaken by bushes. Not even the renovation carried out Last year by the government has fully resuscitated the centre. A visit by NHO reveals there are still no beds, toilet or other facilities to make the PHC fully functional, resulting in so much hardship for pregnant women as patients have to travel for about 55 minutes’ drive, or do a two-hour trek to Imota, which is the closest health centre to them. Juliet Umeh writes about the plight of the people.
Mrs. Aishat Moshood, has every reason to be thankful to God for her safe delivery. No, she did not experience any complication often associated with pregnancy in her environment but the stress of having a baby in any of the communities in Ikorodu North LGA could have snuffed life out of her and her baby either during pregnancy or childbirth. She even had to travel a long distance to have her baby at night.
This mother of two from Ayetoro community has the tradition of entering into labour at midnight. Unfortunately, the closest primary healthcare to her is Olorunda Primary Healthcare Center.
But Olorunda PHC, as NHO discovered, does not take delivery because there are no enough health personnel. It does not function on weekends either and only opens from 8am to 4pm. Aside that, residents with other health challenges cannot receive medical attention after 4 pm.
This has been the fate of Mrs. Moshood and other pregnant women from the 15 communities that the Olorunda PHC is meant to serve. The communities include: Ayetoro, Olorunda, Liadi, Eyinogbe, Igbaga, Ajegunle, Kajola, Itele, Araro, Monjoda, Okegbodo, Seun Idafa, Maye and Olorijo.
Speaking with NHO, Mrs. Moshood said: “I registered at Olorunda PHC, but I didn’t give birth there because they don’t work at night due to lack of staff. My labour started around 1 am so my husband and I decided not to go there since they would have closed,” she said.
Explaining further, Mrs. Moshood said she paid 4,000 for antenatal in the PHC and pays N300 for tests at every visit. But she ended up having her baby in a private hospital where she paid N12,000 to have her baby.
Mojeed Moshood, though happy that his wife survived the ordeal, expressed disgust that Aishat and other women in the 25 communities have to go through such harrowing experience for antenatal care and delivery. He told NHO many lives could be saved and many women will have their babies safely without stress if the government can just attach one or two medical doctors to Olorunda PHC on a 24-hour shift.
“It will help us in this community, so that we won’t have to travel far at midnight to the general hospital. From what I saw at the General Hospital that night, the patients are too many for the doctors to attend to at the same time.
In the same vein, one of the women leaders, Mrs. Hafisat Usman, told NHO that the government only needs to equip Olorunda PHC and deploy enough health workers there to bring health care closer to the people.
“The government needs to step in. They need to save our women and children. They must stop the suffering,” she pleaded.
A community leader Hon. Alade Olukoga, also decried the neglect of the PHC.
“Government did not take care of that place in terms of management and care of the women. At times, that place is busy but renovation started there recently and that brought a little joy to me.
“Before, you cannot advise your wife to go there. But now, that they have patron I think they have improved. Although the place has a new look, we still want government to install more equipment because it serves almost 15 communities, so if the government can help us to improve it, we will be happier.
“I have instructed the CDA to write to the government. I believe he is in the best position to do that because they represent the whole community and he told me he has written the letter,” he said on efforts by the communities to get the state government to act.
“We will be talking to the politicians too to, at least, bring beds and chairs to the place so it can take proper shape,’ Olukoga further told NHO.