Guidna community and environs recently had access to free medical outreach and other freebies organised to herald the official commencement of Silver Cross, a healthcare facility, the first in the over 150 years existence of the communities.
Sadly like Sunday pointed out, not all residents have been as lucky. Over the years, a good number especially women and children, have died due to financial constraints and access to prompt healthcare services.
In an interview with newsmen, the Guidna community, Chief Umar Danladi, said they feel the absence of a healthcare facility the most when emergencies including labour, comes up at night.
The Chief who noted that there was a health centre at Kagini, however, lamented it was too small to handle the many health demands of the people within the area and environs.
The majority of the residents who equally spoke agreed that the difficulties of accessing healthcare had left them at the mercy of patent medicine dealers and traditional birth attendants for women of childbearing age.
Disturbed over the plight of health neglected communities in the FCT, Silver Cross Hospital, CEO, Dr. Patrick Ezie conceived the initiative to establish a healthcare facility to provide quality healthcare services to community dwellers at an affordable rate, not minding that Health care is very expensive.
He lamented that despite being closest to the people, the Primary Health Care (PHC) space which ordinarily should cater for malnutrition and prevent deaths, was at a deficit, as the secondary and tertiary levels of healthcare have become the spotlights for healthcare seekers, thus causing an increase in mortality rate at the community level.
Dr. Ezie who observed that a lot of “people die needlessly because they don’t have the facilities they need within their radius, said Nigerians rush the secondary and tertiary hospitals due to the inefficiency of the PHC facilities.
“We looked at the population close to 300,000, this is where the impact of health care services is required so we decided to try out this pilot project to see if mortality rates will reduce if we can help the people survive better and help their general wellbeing once they don’t have to travel far for care.
“We are providing best practice health care at par with what you can get in any other healthcare facility and comprehensive surgical services so they won’t have to travel to very big hospitals in town to do caesarean sections and others.”
Not perturbed about the little proceeds the hospital might generate given its poor location, he explained that, “the concept here is a case of volume as against a game of resources.
“We are going to reduce our prices to what they can afford and in doing that we need a volume of at least a thousand persons a month. The vision of Silver Cross is to do facilities where people need them the most and where the volume can break the even that we are looking for.”
Constantly developing ways to boost access to healthcare, Dr. Ezie in partnership with one of the NGO’s partnering the hospital, is looking towards commencing a community health insurance scheme where residents unable to pay for health care services, have a certain amount as little as N100 or N200 deducted every month into an account to make payment easy and without stress.
“Any time they are sick they can access care without having to go to pay the bulk money. We want to test this model and see how we can perfect it so we can expand and even help government run some of the facilities if we are very successful at it.”
But like the two sides of a coin, one of the major challenges confronting Silver Cross Hospital is insecurity, followed by misunderstanding of Silver Cross’ vision, epileptic power, the discouraging procedure of approval acquisition from the FCT, and providing health care services that the people deserve.
However, determined to secure and protect the hospital from harm, the hospital has begun an integration process with the community to create a balance. Moving further, a partnership with Rotary International, Action for Peace and Conflict and the community, is already looking bright in terms of a secured area.
Dr. Patrick said, “We brought them into the community and they have been talking with the chief and his cabinet. They have set up a peace council and a peace pillar at the chief’s palace and they are going to training the community vigilante and youths on how to resolve conflict and transform conflict where ever it exists
“It is very key in what we do here because without peace we can’t thrive and more importantly, we will have a lot of people come to the facility with physical abuses, trauma, fractures, etc. These are things we are bringing to the community as a facility and we know that eventually, we will have more partner organisations come in to help the communities around here.”
Chief Danladi who didn’t agree less, said the four policemen deployed to man the police outpost in the community are usually overwhelmed by criminal elements, especially at night.
“We have told the hospital to assist us better secure the community. We have a vigilante but we need to build an office for them even though there is a police outpost with only four policemen.
“This is too large a community, four policemen cannot protect or secure this entire community especially at night so we have insecurity challenges.”
However, determined to secure and protect the hospital from harm, the hospital has begun an integration process with the community to create a balance. Moving further, a partnership with Rotary international, Action for Peace and Conflict and the community, is already looking bright in terms of a secured area.
Other freebies made available to teenagers and children in the community by an active partner of the hospital which focus on zero hunger, Moesiello Foundation, includes sanitary towels, food, drinks and other edibles, as they spent a fun time dancing and feeding the children under the Pikin Belle Full project
Besides lending support to struggling organisations, Moesiello Foundation is one group that may help indigent residents clear their bills and even provide free meals for patients in the wards, as one major observation was the cry for affordable healthcare.
This is only natural as Nigerians are passing through a difficult moment where they struggle to put a meal on the table. The last thing they think about is money for safe and quality health.