FROM: PAUL ORUDE, BAUCHI
Efforts to reduce the high rates of maternal, new born and child deaths in Bauchi State are being slowed down as health equipment and medicines worth N2.4 billion donated by the EU-UNICEF to the state are yet to be distributed to health facilities.
The items were handed over to the state Governor Mohammed Abubakar by UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative, Mohamed Malick Fall, to advance the health of women and children, in the state, under the European Union-Maternal and New-born Health and Nutrition Outcomes (EU-MNCHN) Project titled:“Strengthening Primary Health Care and Community Resilience for Improved Maternal, New-born, Child Health Nutrition (MNCHN) outcomes.”
But a visit to the Comprehensive Health Centre, Tashan Babaye, the deputy in charge, Abdulrasheed Abubakar Bibi told Daily Sun that they were yet to receive the items.
The situation was not different at the Nasarawa Jahun PHC where the Chief Nursing Officer, Asma’u Danjuma, confirmed to our correspondent that the centre was yet to receive the items.
The story is the same at the Under 5 Clinic at Jahun and other PHCs outside the state capital.
“We have no anti-malaria drugs, no essential drugs, and we don’t have a fridge where we can store vaccination drugs,” said a staff of one of the primary health care centres who pleaded anonymity.
When our correspondent went to the Primary Health Care Development Agency’s office in Bauchi to find out why the items were to be distributed, the Executive Chairman, Pharmacy was said to have travelled to Abuja on an official assignment. Calls to his phone number were neither answered or returned.
But an official of the agency confirmed to Daily Sun that they were currently working out the modalities to carry out the distribution of the items.
However, most of the officials of the PHCs claimed that they were not even aware that such items were donated to them.
“We have over 50 out patients every day. We have over 60 pregnant women coming for ante natal every day and we have to resort to user free. Nothing is free anymore because the drugs that the government promised are not always available,” a staff in charge of one of the health care facilities lamented.
It will be recalled that Governor Mohammed Abubakar launched the Five-Point Health Agenda in September, 2015 to strengthen the PHC services “with particular emphasis on diseases affecting the maternal, new born and child population as well as routine immunization exercise”
As parts of effort to reduce infant and maternal mortality, the state government is sponsorship maternal, neo-natal and Child Health Week and rapid response to diarrhoea disease outbreak in some parts of the State.
The administration constructed 19 primary healthcare centres with VIP toilets and staff quarters in all local government areas and improvement of funding of the health sector through financing mechanism, accountability and transparency.