Nigeria: Maternal and Child Health – Reprieve As Exxonmobil Commissions N150m Phc in Nanka Community
The 21 year wait for a befitting maternal and child health care centre, the Nanka community, in Orumba North Local Council of Anambra State, came to an end last week with the official commissioning and hand over of the Ofu-Obi Comprehensive Health Centre by Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited, EEPNL, with support from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
Prior to this landmark, Nanka, one of the most populous communities in the state was solely dependent on a health centre established through community effort in 1949.
Although, it has become a norm in the state that a Primary Health Centre must be located within 15 minutes reach so that all residents can have access to health care, the situation was different in the erosion – ravaged community.
Most hit in the community are their women and children who travel far to access health services.
Investigations revealed that the lack of accessible health centres has deprived so many women in the area attention by skilled health attendants and several now patronise traditional birth attendants which in results to an increase in maternal and child deaths.
In 1991, youths in the community under the auspices of Ofu- Obi Age Grade took the bull by the horn and embarked on a hospital project with the sole aim of providing a befitting health centre for the community. But their efforts were halted at the roofing stage in 1997 by lack of funds.
It was gathered that the project started after an approval by the Anambra State Ministry of Health, Enugu, in 1991 and the foundation stone laid by the then Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemka Pius Ezeife in 1993. Since then, several governments have come and gone with promises unfulfilled.
In the words of one of Mr. Patrick Okeke, “Various launchings have been done and passed governments made promises but