In Roguwa, getting pregnant is risky venture
Roguwa is a farming community in Karshi Development Area of Nassarawa State. With over 4,000 residents, the community, which is about 65 kilometers from Abuja and seen as an extension of the Federal Capital Territory, is home to many low-income workers, who cannot afford the high cost of living in the capital city.
But despite its proximity to Abuja and Lafia, the capital of Nassarawa State, the community that also serves as an agricultural hub, lacks access to basic healthcare services. A dilapidated and poorly equipped two-room bungalow, which is the Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) and the only healthcare facility in the community, serves as the Ward, Labour and Consulting Room.
Moreover, the clinic has no professional medical personnel as it is manned by only two persons, a Community Health Extension Worker who the residents refer to as doctor and an Environmental Officer.
Between January to June 2018, the community had lost over 20 women due to pregnancy-related complications while over 10 men and several children have died due to delay in accessing health care as a result of bad road.
When journalists under the umbrella of Media Network for Universal Health Coverage (MN4UHC) visited the area, the Health Officer in charge of the centre, Mr. Balarabe Yusuf, told The Guardian that the health center lack basic facilities like electricity, laboratory and befitting structure and it does not have adequate personnel. He appealed to the state government to come to their aid.
Also speaking, the Environmental Officer said she helps to deliver pregnant women of their babies. She noted that despite the low amount being charged for antenatal services, most women in the community could not afford it.She observed that pregnant women paid N1,000 for ante-natal services and between N4,000 to N5,000 for delivery, adding that money realized is used to procure drugs for the center.
Apart from the poor health facilities, many of the residents lack knowledge of the need to go for antenatal care during pregnancy and family planning to curb high rate of baby production. A 50-year-old resident, Mallam Abubakar, who is a father of 25 children, told newsmen that he had this huge numbers of children from his two wives due lack of information about family planning. He observed that even though he is still very active, he is ready to use contraceptives if provided.
The FCT chapter chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Chiedozie Achonwa, told The Guardian that it is not right to run a healthcare center without at least a professional health worker.
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