Refurbishing the Run Down Nneogidi Primary Healthcare Centre, Anambra State

Health is Life!!

I wrestled with the idea of posting this for some time but reached the resolve to go ahead with it. I was inspired to do more for the less privileged after joining @selfless4Africa in 2013 and helping lead the #Emergingleadersprogram in Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia. Hopefully, this post will encourage someone else to get out of their comfort zone and learn to be selfless as well.

 

In May 2017 while paying a visit to my hometown (Umuifite, Agulu, Anaocha LGA, Nigeria), I asked my dad where the nearest health center or clinic was. I noticed a familiar grin on his face which emboldened me even more to visit the facility myself. On that fateful day, we drove to the Nneogidi Primary Health Care Center, in Nneogidi Village, Agulu and I could not believe what I saw. The said health care center was mapped to address the primary healthcare needs of three communities (Nneogidi, Umuifite and Umunnowu). During the ‘tour’, I began asking the nursing assistant (NA) questions and they went like this:

 

Is this the waiting room for sick patients?

Who is the doctor assigned to this health center and is he not on duty today?

Are these medicine cabinets? If so, where are the medications stocked?

 

What is that room by the corner. NA: ‘Oh this is our delivery room’, she answered. Do women actually give birth to babies in there, I blurted. She said ‘yes’ while my mind was trying to convince me that she actually said ‘no’, but lo and behold she did say ‘yes’.

How there are no mosquito nets on each window?

Do admitted patients sleep in the small ward over here?

 

Towards the end of the tour, she beckoned towards me. ‘(Oga)’ as she called me, ‘we don’t have water in this facility’. Hearing this comment, I felt numb. I thought she was joking so I had to prod more. I asked, ‘so when women give birth in that room labeled “delivery room”, how do you clean her up?’

NA: ‘Oh, the families are advised to bring their own can of water at the time of delivery’.

At this point, I had seen and heard enough and was ready to head out. We left the facility and I was left speechless until we pulled into our compound. From the corner of my eye, I still noticed the smirk on my dad’s face. But this time, it was more familiar and basically it was more of ‘are you satisfied now?’

With confusion, disappointment and a tad bit of anger, thoughts and questions started going through my head:  who is the local government Chairman of the LGA?, do we have a representative in the state house?’, what is the role of the person appointed as Commissioner of health for the State, and what is the role of the special adviser to the governor on health matters?, where are the well-to-do men/women of Agulu and what are they all doing?, where is the governor of the State? (note this is a community less than 15miles from the capital territory- Awka) and so many others.

 

But alas, I realized that we cannot hope and depend on the government anymore. Well-meaning Nigerians like you and I can stand up to make a difference.

 

Our foundation decided to tackle the much we could to salvage the health care center by doing the following:

 - Addressed the water issue by drilling a borehole water system. Now the facility has clean/running pipe-borne water.

 - Built and donated benches, tables and seats to the facility to pace in the waiting room.

 - Repaired the windows, doors and placed mosquito nets on all of them (about 23 outlets)

 - Tiled all around the exterior mid-level of the facility to prevent further water permeation through the bricks.

 - Built and donated medicine cabinets to the facility.

 - Donated different classes of medications (including but not limited to anti-malarial, anti-helminthic, blood tonics, pain relievers, cough syrups for children, methylated spirits for wound care, antibiotics etc.) to supplement the essentially non-existent formulary at the facility.

 - Through @medshare purchased and donated subsidized minor surgical and medical supplies/instruments, Re-upholstered the delivery bed, provided medical supplies to support deliveries and enhance the birthing experience of mothers at the facility.

There is so much more left to do to get this facility up to standard. But hang up my boots now – that I won’t!!!!!

IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD, START WITH THE NEXT PERSON WHO COMES TO YOU IN NEED!!