As a young doctor that was born and had all my medical education in Nigeria it is very
exciting writing this experience.
The health care referral system in Nigeria is close to non-existent if I can say that. The
primary health care is ideally the first point of call for health in a community.
In my years of living in Nigeria sadly I have never sought for care in a primary health care
center and there are so many like me. The PHC system has been made to be for only the
under served and underprivileged in society.
Concerned Medics Foundation launched a collaborative project with the a PHC in the heart of Jimeta Adamawa State, which is an urban area in the northeast region of Nigeria. It’s a multicultural area, having people of varying socioeconomic status.
The project is to help in educating the community and encourage them to access health care from the PHC before going to the secondary and tertiary centers, hence, reducing the patient load in the Centers and I was fortunate to be a volunteer in this Pilot study.
We had approval from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency of the state and were very helpful In the commencement of the project.
I was very enthusiastic on my first day because I have never experienced working in a PHC before the Nurse in charge was so helpful and excited to have a doctor around to consult the patients because prior to the project the center was solely run by the CHO(community health Officers).
I was taken on a tour of the center and to my amazement, some basic supplies were either not available or outdated. The highlight of my first day was seeing a paper hematocrits reader which I didn’t know even existed.
The centre would need hospital supplies like stethoscope, sphygmomanometer, basic obstetrics and gynecology instruments, and those for GOPD.
I made use of the items available and I saw a few patients who were so excited to have been seen by a doctor in a PhC and were hopeful that I would be there in their subsequent visit. However, I had an interesting experience where a patient came and demanded to have antibiotics which he had no indication for after running investigations at his discretion. He left disappointed when I declined to prescribe them.
It was a fulfilling experience and I am so glad CMF started this wonderful initiative which
looks promising and would revive the main purpose of the PHC, so that the populace can access the best care at the appropriate level and stop self -referral and bypassing the PHC at the communities I realized that if basic equipment, employing the services of doctors (family physicians), consistent opening hours of the PHC and collaboration between the different levels of health care which seems fragmented at the moment could be achieved, the PHC would be fully accessed and utilized.
My biggest lesson was, however, that despite all the challenges I saw at the PHC the staff were happy and passionate to serve the host community and there was a sense of empathy, unity and harmony with the people and they were able to do so much with very little.
Dr. Almansur Sumayya Auwal
There are 2 wards in the centre, with 2 beds each, a labour ward, average 5 (deliveries/week), an amenity bed and a consulting room
CONCERNED MEDICS FOUNDATION
PHC PROJECT ITEM LIST needed urgently
OBSTETERICS AND GYNAECOLOGY DEPARTMENT
1. Cord clamp
2. Drip stand
6. Suction bulbs
7. Paediatric ambubag
11. Family planning supplies
OUT PATIENT DEPARTMENT
1. Stretcher /examination couch
2. Drip stand
4. Weighing scale
6. Clinical thermometer
9. Tape measure
12 Face mask
13. Surgical gloves
1. Hematocrit reader
2. Urinalysis strip
3. Pregnancy strip
4. Hepatitis strip
5. Hiv test kit
6. COVID test kit