…Scores of Pregnant Women Die at Midnight, No Weekend Service
By Kolawola Omoniyi
Kano residents have cried out over the untold hardship that they are being subjected to due to epileptic services being rendered by the 1200 Primary Healthcare Centers in the State as about 1000 of the Centers resume work at 8.am and close between 3.pm and 5.pm daily.
The situation is even more critical at the weekend as the facilities usually remain locked on Saturdays and Sundays. The residents at the rural areas are mostly hit by this development as they hardly get access to general hospitals, risking their lives at midnight in case of any emergency medical attentions. Pregnant women are also not spared as the situation is complicating the maternal death rate in the State.
At exactly 2.am on July 2nd, a heavily pregnant woman, Rahama Ismail, resident of Guringawa community in Kumbotso Local Government area of Kano, woke up with sharp labour pains, after a failed attempt to access the nearest hospital; she delivered her baby, born with amniotic sack at home.
Lack of experience on how to unclothe the baby from the amniotic sack led to the death of the infant shortly. Also, the mother, after two and half hours of protracted bleeding in anticipation for placenta, she also gave up the ghost around 4.30am.
Her neighbour, Samira Garba Abubakar narrated the ordeal in tears with or correspondent. “when she started the labour at midnight, we did not meet anybody at Gwagwarwa hospital, we knocked on the door of one health worker in the neighborhood, she attempted to help but she said she had no glove and some other materials, luckily Rahama was able to deliver the baby by herself inside her room, the baby came out with amniotic sack, we got confused because we didn’t know how to remove the baby from the sack and the baby died shortly when there was no one to help us”.
“Aisha was still experiencing sharp pains after the delivery because the placenta refused to come out, we later rushed her to one private hospital where we were referred to Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, before reaching there, Rahama, who has been bleeding uncontrollably for two and half hours lost strength to survive the hurdle and was declared dead on arrival at AKTH”.
“Rahama was the second neighbour that I lost to such similar incident this year alone and many of such had happened in the past in this area because our hospitals closes at 3.pm daily and they don’t even come to work on Saturday and Sunday” Samira lamented.
SABWARGABDU PHC FEMALE WARD AT 5.15PM ON MONDAY EVENING
During our correspondent’s visits to other communities including ‘Yar Gaya in Dawakin Kudu LGA, Gawon Bature and Sai Lafia in Makoda LGA, Gwanda in Dambatta LGA and Warawa, it was a similar bitter experience for the villagers who usually travel a long distance of about 15km to access hospitals.
“In the entire Warawa Local Government, all PHCs in the area are closing around 3.pm, no weekend services, pregnant women and other patients used to travel to Wudil LGA or Dawakin Kudu General hospitals for medical attention and in case of emergency situation at midnight, many people have lost their lives in the process” a resident, Dahir Garba explained.
Due to the proximity of Gawon Bature village in Makoda LGA of Kano to Kasaure town in Jigawa State, residents of the community mostly depend on the general hospital in Kasaure for urgent medical attention.
A resident in the area, Sani Abubakar said “We don’t have hope in Kano government, the government officials only come here and collect revenue on our farmlands, they threaten to confisticate the land if we fail to pay, and as you can see, we don’t have functional PHCs, we always run to Kasaure and lie to their officials there that we are Jigawa indigenes, because if they find out that we are coming from Kano State, they will not attend to us, I have lost count of many people who have died including pregnant women in this village if their illness is in a critical condition at midnight”.
SITUATION OF GAWON BATURE PHC ON SATURDAY AROUND 11.AM
The residents of Gwanda in Dambatta LGA, predominantly farmers, are also not exempted from the untold hardship. “Truly we have PHC facility here but they don’t have medical Doctor, our wives used to trek about 15km distance to the hospitals where they are running 24hours services, the health workers used to come to work around 10am and close around 3.pm, I’m sure if you go there now you will not meet them since today is Saturday” one of the Gwanda residents, simply identified as Abdullahi lamented.
Besides the inability of the health centers to run shifts, the state of their facilities is worrisome. Kano has only 40 general hospitals, most of its standard public and private hospitals are situated within the metropolis, covering just eight out of the 44 local government areas, while residents of the remaining 36 LGAs rely on the epileptic health centers and the limited number of general hospitals.
About 40 government general hospitals in Kano are being overstretched by the overwhelming influx of patients from every nook and cranny of the State, women are being discharged shortly after delivery either medically fit or not to accommodate other patients on the queue.
No doubt, budgetary allocation to Kano health sector has significantly improved to about 15% of the entire annual budget of the State, but its impact could not be felt due to poor percentage of fund being released. For instance, in 2018 budget, ten billion, three hundred and seventy nine million, five hundred and forty four thousand naira (10, 379, 544, 000, 00) was approved for capital projects in the State’s health sector, but only two billion, nine hundred and fifty million, ninety thousand, one hundred and seventy nine naira and sixty kobo (2, 950, 090, 179, 60) was released.
When contacted, the Executive Secretary of the Kano State Primary Health Care Management Board, Dr Tijjani Hussaini admitted that many of the PHC facilities especially in the rural areas lack the required manpower and facilities to run 24 hours and weekend services.
“In Kano we have about 1, 200 PHC facilities in various categorization, first, we have Standard PHC, second, Health Clinic and lastly, Health Post, out of these, only the first one which is Standard PHC facilities are expected to run 24 hours services. In an ideal situation, the standard PHC facilities must have 13 rooms to run delivery, antenatal, postnatal, family planning and immunization services as well as laboratory among others, but many of our PHC facilities do not have such capacity, only 200 of the facilities are running 24hrs services, even though they were still not up to the required standard, we consider only them because they were registered under the State Contributory Health Care programme”.
The Executive Secretary spoke further “it is a known fact that not all Local Government Areas in Kano have general hospitals, for instance there is no general hospital in Kunci LGA, no general hospital in Albasu LGA and some others, that is the reason why we can’t post a Doctor there because there are no facilities for Doctors to work in such location. Apart from that, many Doctors and other health workers are running away from the villages due to poor amenities, if we place advert to recruit Doctors, most of them are not willing to go to the Village”
Dr Tijjani, who described the number of maternal mortality being recorded in the State as a result of the inability of the healthcare facilities to run 24 hours services as “worrisome”, promised that efforts are on the pipeline to recruit more medical workers to complement the existing 10, 000 workers under the Board’s payroll.
“It is worrisome to me because one of the causes of maternal mortality is the delay, the delay from the woman side, transportation or from the health service, the State government is planning to upgrade the facilities by next year and since the expected standard is beyond mere renovations, we are intending to expand some of the facilities to meet the aforementioned standard, we intend to establish at least one of such standard facilities in each of the 484 wards in the State, Governor Ganduje had recently made the pronouncement, if you read newspapers, you might have come across the story”. He added.
However, the newly appointed Commissioner for Health in the State, Dr Aminu Ibrahim Tsanyawa told our correspondent that his utmost priority would be the move to decongest the general hospitals within the metropolis by improving the services of the Primary Health Care Centers across the State especially those situated in the rural areas for effective and prompt healthcare delivery.