In August 2016, Tracka visited Ekrota community in Udu Local Government Area to inspect the construction of a comprehensive health centre for N60 million which was allocated in 2016 Budget. We engaged the leaders and residents of the communities in a town hall meeting and educated them on the provisions of the budget. The community needed a healthcare facility to solve their health challenges.
Letters were written to Honourable Ahwinahwi Solomon, the representative of Ughelli North/South/Udu federal constituency and the Ministry of Health calling their attention to the project. Following the expiration of 2016 Budget, the healthcare centre was left undone but we never gave up in our advocacy to ensure service delivery.
When the 2017 Budget was published, the same item resurfaced. We geared up our advocacy in Ekrota community, we again engaged the indigenes, wrote letters to the Honourable and the ministry in charge of the project. And on September 8, 2017, the Trackaplus team visited Ekrota with a camera crew to help them share their story with the world. Maybe if more people know about it, maybe something will be done.
The President-General of Ekrota community, Mr. S. Wini said the people of Ekrota community had allotted a proposed land for the construction of their healthcare centre since 2016. He was disappointed that 2017 was running to an end, yet Ekrota had not welcomed any contractor to the project site.
Mrs. Mira, also called Aunty Nurse, a nurse who caters to the health needs of the community explained the urgent need for the health centre.
“Whenever there are severe labour or emergency cases, it is not possible for me alone to take care of such cases and we have no choice than refer those patients to a health centre,” she said that the closest health centre to them was about two hours away. This has led to the death of some patients with dire health conditions.
“We need the government to assist us,” she pleaded.
The youth leader of the community said that the proposed land for the health centre was still there.
“We are waiting for the contractors to show up. We need Health Centre as a matter of exigency,” he said.
In October 2017, Honourable Ahwinahwi Solomon responded to us. He promised that the construction of the health centre would start as soon as funds were released because it had been left undone for too long. He further said it was not done in 2016 because the funds released were not sufficient, hence, it was moved to 2017 Budget.
In March 2018, the president-general of the community informed us that the construction of the healthcare centre had started. In April 2018, we revisited Ekrota community, the project had been completed.
At Tracka, we believe that a project is not complete until it is functional, and any non-functional project is a waste of public funds. We will continue to advocate for the equipping of the health centre until it is functional. Only then can it meet the health challenges of the indigenes. We look forward to a future where ill people in Ekrota who walk into the health centre, will get quality healthcare and walk out healthy.