Nigerians speak on their ordeal at rural health facilities


The popular assertion that health is wealth re-echoes the high importance attached to the health sector of every community, state or the nation in general.


Consequently, it is of high importance to Nigerians and of course the world population.


Much as this sector is supposed to provide care and succour in the time of frailty, incapacitation and helplessness, the opposite seems to be the case. This is just as medical issues raise some concerns ranging from relationship of medical personnel with patients to issues of treatment, hospitality in the various wards, availability of facilities, cost of treatment, delay before commencement of treatment and a host of other issues.


Amina Mohammed, a seven-month pregnant woman, who was encountered at the Primary Heath Care Centre located at Kwali a suburb of the FCT told Ipledge2nigeria that she had been sitting unattended to for 2 hours at the place. She complained that the young nurse she met had with mildness told her to sit somewhere and wait.

She said in her Hausa laddered tongue: “I have been here since 8:30, and yet I have not been attended to. It is not as if I was given a better place to sit as a pregnant woman, or spoken to in a mild tone. The nurse that sent me away talked to me as if I was disturbing her,” she said.



While IP2N lingered around, another woman walked in. She stylishly deposited some notes in the palms of a nurse, which quickly disappeared into her large apron-like white overall. And with a smile, she led the woman into another room.



The complaints of medical personnel’s harsh treatments of patients had become so loud, prompting the Health Secretary of the Kwali Area Council to visit three primary health care centres in the local government last week. His findings were outrageous as the facility and personnel at some of the primary health centres were nothing to write home about.


Public health is a powerful tool to level that playing field, to bend the arc of our country away from distrust and disparities and back towards equity and justice.”


IP2N visited one of the centres where a female patient narrated her ordeal with a male nurse. The patient, who simply gave her name as Faith said that she went through a little hazard before she was attended to. She said: On arrival at the hospital at about 3:00pm, I went to the enquiry unit, where I was further directed to get a card. Surprisingly, the receptionist, who said his name was KC, told me that I could not see the doctor after I had got my card because he has closed for the day. I was like why, and insisted that it was not time for closing.


“After much trouble, he agreed to let me see the doctor if I could give him ‘something’. While I was wondering what it meant to give him something, he added, “just anything in your mind, give me any amount, and they will attend to your file right away” otherwise you may join the others or come back tomorrow,’ the young woman said, still looking dazed.



At the emergency ward, a certain Mr. Jide complained bitterly about the cost of tests and also the procedure. According to him, “The cost of running a test to ascertain ailments is too high; “I had to pay a lot of money just for test; I wonder what the final cost of treatment will be…” He added:



“Even at this, I go through unnecessary time wasting process to book for the test. Emergency cases are really in the hand of God oooh…”For Jide, it takes God to save emergency cases as the proper attention is not at its best yet. Another patient, though not an emergency case, gave his name as Silas, he said the nurse who attended to him was just aggressive, and that was his first time of being admitted. He stated that he never knew he would be admitted, so he came unprepared.



“If you see the kind of aggression I received from the nurse I spoke to, you will gladly agree to go home and die there. I came unprepared for admission because I did not know I would be admitted. I had asked a nurse I could get water to bath she rudely responded that it was not her business. She told me I should have prepared myself in every way before coming on admission”.


“Public health depends on winning over hearts and minds. It’s not enough to just have a good policy, you have to convince people to actually follow it.”


Miss Ann, a young woman, who brought her mother to the hospital, also has a sorry tale to tell.


“I brought my mother, who needed urgent attention to the hospital, but could not get a bed space for a whole two days. She had to call a family friend who knows a nurse there, before they were given a bed space, and properly attended to her dad. According to her, “He sat on a wheel chair for two days because they told me there was no space…” She however, stated that some hospitals are just annoying, adding that “This one is just pathetic, our government hospitals need more attention”. It is not known why hospital, staff exhibit some of the attitude they portray since it is on record that they are paid and remunerated.



Mr Alhassan Tukur, a practicing physician, who refused to allow the use of his centre name, said that most times, it is not about payment but upbringing, stating that most of these people were badly brought up. “



“You see, human beings can be terrible when they want to. Why would someone be harsh to a patient, or demand bribe from him who is purportedly dying? This is a matter of wrong upbringing,” he said.


“The unhoused crisis in our country is a public health emergency, and a moral and policy failure at every level of our government.”


However, in an interview with Idoko Iwobi, a resident of Kwali town, he said his experience was satisfactory in terms of prompt attendance and care. He however, lamented the very poor toilet facilities, which he described as a disease-generating centre in a health house. He asserts: “Your illness can even increase with the state of the toilet there”.



An area council health source said that the health situation is what the present government is tackling, as they are undertaking impromptu visits to healthcare centres to ascertain the viability of the environment and its officials.

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