Nigeria: Inadequate Antenatal and Family Planning Commodities at Gwada Maternal and Child Health Clinic
Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Clinic Gwada is the only government-owned Primary Health Center (PHC) in the Gwada community of the Shiroro Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger State. MCH Gwada was designed to provide maternal and child health services to this community and other nearby communities. But, due to the constant lack of prenatal drugs and family planning products, the health facility is unable to perform its main function effectively.
According to Helen Augustine, head of the facility, due to the shortage of medicines and commodities, most women who attend MCH Gwada do not receive the care they need. “Previously, we used to conduct house-to-house sensitization campaigns before women came to the facility for family planning services. Now women come for services without any mobilization, but products are not available”. She noted that the insufficiency could discourage women from coming for the products that will help to have unplanned pregnancies.
Fatima Abdullahi is a community member who came to the PHC to access family planning services. However, she had to go home without having access to it because the products were not available. Abdullahi said this happens frequently and many other women in the community face the same challenge.
Sa’adatu Yerima was also on a routine antenatal visit to the health facility and, like Abdullahi, she had to return home without the necessary drugs as the health facility was out of stock. “Most of the time they prescribe the drugs for us, and we have to buy them from outside. If we don’t have money, we have to continue like this without taking our prenatal drugs,” she said. .
In addition to these frequent stock-outs, MCH Gwada is also grappling with the challenge of broken down infrastructure: the floor of the facility is worn and full of cracks, and the beds and other equipment are also in poor condition.
Nigeria’s maternal mortality indices are very low and access to routine prenatal medicines is one of the effective ways to improve the well-being of the mother and her baby. Additionally, access to family planning products gives women the ability to prevent unplanned pregnancies, giving them more time for themselves and their families.
Members of the Gwada community therefore request the following:
Shiroro Local Government Area officials and the Niger State government must ensure a steady supply of prenatal medicines and family planning commodities to MCH Gwada.
Urgent rehabilitation of MCH Gwada including provision of new equipment like beds and mattresses among others.