Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Health they say is wealth. When a man is not healthy, his chances of traversing the streets to eke out a living become rare. It is for this reason that the people of Amato Ukwu autonomous community in Osisioma Ngwa council area of Abia state have sent a ‘Save Our Soul’ (SOS) message to the state government over the dilapidated state of their health centre. It is not the health centre alone; they are crying aloud about the deplorable state of school buildings in the community.
Daily Sun investigation showed that whenever it rained, health workers packed their drugs and equipment to safer places due to leaking roofs and broken walls of the only health facility in the area. The situation that is not only detrimental to the health workers but also to the drugs administered to the people.
Traditional ruler of the community, Eze Okwuchi Jim, who spoke on the plight of his people, stated that due to inadequate classrooms, the community primary school and the secondary school section now share classrooms.
The monarch explained that the increasing population of the primary and post primary schools has made the situation unbearable.
“We don’t have health centre, no market, no electricity. There is a building we gave the health people to serve as health centre for the community. But whenever it rains, the health workers pack their drugs and equipment and leave because the roofs are leaking while the walls are falling off. That place is unfit to be called a health centre. No sick person will go there for medical attention because of the environment”, Eze Okwuchi lamented.
Speaking further he said, “We have made several appeals to the government. And I don’t know if the nurses at the health centre have informed the health authorities at Osisioma Ngwa Local Government about the dilapidated state of the Amato Ukwu community health centre. Primary health care is the most basic healthcare in every community, but we lack it. Many people are suffering.
“Our community secondary school has no classroom; they are managing same classroom block with the primary school pupils. The community secondary school is over populated from the junior secondary section to the senior secondary arm, yet no classroom. The secondary school shares same classroom with the primary school section. We have also made several appeals to the government.”
The monarch, who cried out over the state of the secondary school in his community, said the issue of inadequate classrooms was there even before he became the traditional ruler.
He wondered the kind of learning that was going on in the schools, pointing out that he had since last year, prevailed on the principal of the school to bring the issue of increasing population of students to the attention the state Ministry of Education.
“I wonder the kind of learning that can take place in such overcrowded environment such as the schools in my community. The problems of lack of classrooms even started before I became a traditional ruler. The government should come to our aid. In terms of electricity, we have been in darkness.”
He also lamented that the lack of market in the community has made the people who are mostly farmers unable to sell their produce to fend for their families.
“Amato Ukwu is an agrarian community, but we don’t have a single market in my community where my people could sell their produce to make money. What they did was to site a market at an obscure place at Okpu Umuobo area where no person goes to buy or sell. As at today; the market isn’t working”.
The traditional ruler, therefore, called on the state and local government authorities to come to the aid of his people whom he said have suffered for long.