Gwallagan Mayaka, a suburb of Bauchi State which is four kilometres away from the Government House, harbours about 20,000 locals, all of whom rely on a volunteer health worker who provides selfless healthcare services in a rented shop.
Not only that, the community also lacks access to a motorable road even as it links to the seat of power in Bauchi metropolis.
Aliyu Umar, Wakilin Gwallagan Mayaka [the district head] told WikkiTimes that lack of healthcare centres in the community exposed locals to untold hardships, citing women as the most vulnerable.
“We don’t have a good healthcare center,” Umar lamented. “When our family members, especially women fall sick, we suffer before we get to the hospital.”
According to findings, a Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) was established in the community about seven years ago, but it continues to degenerate from its own structure to a rented shop where the volunteer is rendering healthcare service to the locals.
Initially, Bauchi local council hired an apartment for the centre, but members of the community, at a point were left to offset the rent bill. This was after the first year’s rent had elapsed.
The facility was relocated after community members could not renew the rent. A contingent of community members under the aegis of Village Development Committee (VDC) rented another apartment afterwards, but the cash-strapped facility later found its way to a shop.
“Initially, the local government rented an apartment for the healthcare center for one year,” revealed the district head. “But due to its failure in renewing the rent, we were chased out of the apartment and we later got another temporary building rented by our community association, Village Development Committee (VDC). We were again ejected after the expiration of one year’s rent. We are now using a shop.”
MANY OBSTACLES AT ONCE
Umar, the district head told WikkiTimes the facility had a permanent staff before the government transferred him.
“We only have a volunteer staff in the center. There was a permanent staff initially but he was relocated somewhere,” he revealed. “And for being alone, he [the volunteer] cannot always be there. He is trying his best but there is no way he could do better.”
“What worsens the situation is we don’t have a good road. So access to a hospital takes us over 4 km on our dreaded road. Had you come here two months earlier, you wouldn’t have ridden on your motorcycle.
Umar grieved that several women in labour died on the road while trying to access hospitals in Bauchi metropolis.
He hoped the state government would look into their plights in no time. “This government is trying, so we are still optimistic that our challenges would at least be addressed.”
Umar revealed that VDC, in the last five years, contributed N450,000 and acquired land for the facility, but could not afford to erect a structure on it. “We are seriously in need of a healthcare centre or hospital,” he pleaded, adding the community hosts at least 20,000 people.
He stated that the community is geographically part of Bauchi metropolis, but socially isolated. “It seems like we are from a remote village,” Umar said in anguish.
WikkiTimes could not access the facility as it was locked when our reporter visited the community. Locals told him the volunteer had just left some moment before his arrival.
In 2021, Bauchi State Government claimed it spent about N2.5 billion on construction and renovation of the PHCs across the state, but Gwallaga PHC which is just about four kilometres away from the governor’s seat is still in its shadow.
Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, Chairman, Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development did not respond to phone calls and text messages requesting his comment about the PHC.