Adama Hajara with other Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) and health staff during a routine immunization day at the health facility
Health Centre Improved, Shift to Outreach
Real Medicine Foundation has been active in Nigeria since 2006, first working to provide pediatric care to the estimated 15,000 young children living in the shantytown of Makoko in Lagos State. Supported by World Children’s Fund (WCF) and in partnership with the Kwara State Ministry of Health, the Nigerian Youth Service Corps (NYSC), and the Gure Gwassoro Ward Development Committee, we then began working to improve access to primary health care in one of the most remote areas of Nigeria: the community of Gure in Kwara State.
Gure is located near Nigeria’s border with the Republic of Benin, and before RMF’s arrival in 2009, its only health center, Gure Model Health Centre, had been abandoned. RMF helped reopen, improve, and support the Gure Model Health Centre, providing the only source of accessible health care for a population of over 154,000 in the Baruteen Local Government Area and its surrounding towns. The health center also receives patients who travel to Gure from the Republic of Benin to seek medical treatment.
Until mid-2015, RMF supported the improvement and operation of Gure Model Health Centre, and in October 2016, we shifted our focus to health outreach. We provide free clinics and education sessions primarily for women, children, and the elderly. Through these outreach clinics, RMF aims to reach underserved, vulnerable community members with education, primary health care, maternal, and child health care.
Health Outreaches Have Longstanding Benefits on Community
After RMF’s health outreach during July 9–13, 2018, where we provided free healthcare services to over 800 people from Gure and surrounding communities in partnership with the staff of Gure Model Health Centre, the community continues to benefit from RMF’s support:
- Medications from the outreach provide an ongoing drug supply chain, which enables Gure Model Health Centre to provide some subsidized services and improves vulnerable community members’ access to quality services at this level of care.
- The health outreaches improve confidence in Gure Model Health Centre. Most primary healthcare centers in Nigeria are dysfunctional, but Gure Model Health Centre has continued to inspire confidence in the people of Gure and environs because of the availability of drugs and other commodities for the delivery of primary healthcare services.
- Improved confidence in the health center has helped improve continuous utilization of maternal health services (antenatal, delivery, and postnatal services), immunization and other child health services, as well as outpatient service delivery.
Notably, health service utilization is highest during RMF outreaches (as seen in the month of July) due to increased health promotion activities, supplies, and healthcare professionals available during that time. With additional funding, RMF Nigeria will be able to provide additional support, including more outreach events and supplies, and
we hope one day to support the infrastructure and staff of Gure Model Health Centre once more.
With support from RMF, an average of 30 children are immunized every Thursday at Gure Model Health Centre, effecting significant improvements in infant and child morbidity and mortality in the region.
Clinician checking Hafisu’s blood pressure
Hafisu Abdullahi is a 45-year-old pepper trader diagnosed with high blood pressure of 190/100 mmHg (incidental hypertension finding). She is currently on antihypertensive medication and attends regular check-ups at the clinic. Her blood pressure is now reported within normal limits.
CHEW Adama treating Hadiza
Hadiza Aminat, a 22-year-old woman who works as a food hawker, was treated for vaginal spotting during her fourth week of pregnancy. She was kept on bed rest for 12 hours and was placed on analgesics and fluid therapy. Hadiza was subsequently discharged by 7:00 PM on the same day. She is doing well and currently attending antenatal visits. Her pregnancy has now reached the tenth week.