Residents of Gui, a community located along airport road, Abuja, who recently celebrated the building of a new heathcare facility in their community have expressed their frustrations over the lack of secondary schools in the community.
They also lamented the poor state of roads within the community.
Speaking with our reporter at the commissioning and handing over ceremony of a primary healthcare centre, PHC donated by the European Union, EU, in the community on Friday, the residents called for government attention.
A resident, Perpetual Nwachukwu, said their children walk about 10km to school everyday.
“A big challenge facing this community is lack of secondary schools. Our children have to walk about 10km to their schools everyday.
“Our children go as far as Gusa and Suleja everyday all in the name of going to school, endangering their lives.
“We plead with the government to build a secondary school for us so our children can stop going far to get education. A secondary school with about five or more teachers will add to the development of this community,” she said.
On the newly commissioned PHC centre, Mrs. Nwachukwu said, “Before the establishment of this PHC, I go all the way to Kuje General Hospital. That is about 20km from Gui. We are grateful for this privilege given to our community, it is a great honour and it will benefit the whole community,” she said
She urged the government and the EU to bring in qualified female midwives, who are friendly, patient and accommodating.
This she said is because most residents of Gui community “are illiterates, so they don’t allow male nurses to attend to them especially during delivery.”
Dorcas Zakariah, a mother of four also said she visits Kuje hospital for antenatal and other medical services but this will stop as the PHC will serve all needs.
She said the community was grateful to have a PHC, which means, she and other people will no longer have to go as far as Kuje hospital.
She also lamented the lack of good roads in the community, explaining that if the roads were good, it will enable people from other community access medical services in Gui.
Speaking at the event, the EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ketil Karlsen, challenged states to make adequate allocation in the 2018 budget to cover immunisation programmes.
He disclosed that EU had provided an additional N3.8 billion to support the Nigerian government’s immunisation programme in 23 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
He said the fund was also to strengthen primary health care under it’s seven-year project Support to Immunisation Governance in Nigeria (EU-SIGN) 2011-2018 initiative.
The project is in collaboration with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA and the 23 states targetted are: Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Cross River, Ebonyi, Edo, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Osun , Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara.
“The amount was used to fund the procurement of vehicles and solar refrigerators as well as the construction and renovation of health facilities and cold stores in 23 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory”, the official said.
Beyond the financial assistance, he said, EU is also concerned about the governance and management of health service delivery and the utilisation of available budgets in a transparent and accountable manner.
He noted that it was important for the states and local governments to make adequate and predictable allocation in their annual budgets for recurrent immunistion costs for vaccine distribution, outreaches, regular power supply to the health facilities as well as staffing these facilities with qualified personnel.
In his remark, the Executive Director, NPHCDA, Faisal Shuaib, asked for support from the EU stressing that the country’s health system is yet to reach its full potential.
“I wish to draw the attention of the EU to the fact that, Nigeria health system, especially the routine immunisation system is not there yet. With the recent outcome of the MICS survey, 2016 we still have a long way to go especially now that the country faces economic challenges.
“Your further support for the continuous improvement of this system will come in handy”, he said.