In Latartar community, Shongom LGA, Gombe, over 3000 residents do not have access to quality healthcare. The community’s only primary health care centre is dilapidated and on the verge of collapse.
The old site of the hospital has been completely abandoned because of the state in which it is, and the one the community is managing is terrible.
We spoke to the head of the facility, Nurse Grace, who lamented the bad situation at the centre. She said the facility has been in this state for over five years with only six staff, five beds, and insufficient labour and laboratory equipment.
‘We attend to over 400 patients daily because about eight communities around Latatar also use this place. The medical staff, equipment and consumables are insufficient to attend to the patients. Sometimes we can’t admit patients that need admission because of lack of bed space and mattress.’ she told Tracka.
During the rainy season, the centre becomes inhabitable as all the roofs are bad and leaking.
The staff also complained of a lack of drugs. They said the government only supplies them with anti-malaria drugs. They have to spend out-of-pocket to purchase other medicines for patients.
In emergencies, there is no ambulance to transport patients to Kaltungo, so they must use bikes. Sometimes, when it is too late, and there are no bikes, they must manage the patient till morning. The facility is in dire need of an ambulance.
Nurse Grace urges the government to renovate the old site of the hospital, which is bigger and more spacious or renovate the smaller one they are currently managing.
We also spoke to Adamu, a community resident who was bitter concerning the state of the health facility. Adamu, a farmer, brought in Aisha, his 4years old daughter, for treatment, and she was being treated while she was seated on his lap, as according to him, his lap is safer than the mattress in the facility.
He was asked to leave her and come back later because no drugs were available when he arrived, but he offered to wait with her.
‘If the hospital was in good condition, I would have left her here and returned to the farm. But it is not safe to leave her here alone. I will wait till the drugs come.’ he told us.
We urgently call on the Gombe state governor, Governor Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya, the health commissioner, Hon. Umar Kaltungo and Shongom LGA Chairman, Yohanna Nahari, to renovate, staff, and equip Latartar Primary Health Centre. Nine communities rely on the facility for healthcare, and the quality care at the centre is harming the people.
Story by Ayomide Ladipo and Esther Lamon