….facility converted to temporary corners’ lodge

...natives travel to Yenagoa for medical treatment 

….beg govt to deploy medical personnel to facility

By Samuel Oyadongha

INDIGENES of Ondewari, an oil-rich settlement in the Olodiama clan situated on the bank of the Ossiama Creek in the deep swamp of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa have expressed concern over the non-deployment of a medical doctor and other health personnel to their community.

The locals lamented that they are compelled to embark on tortuous journeys on the turbulent waters to get medical treatment for their sick folks in far away Yenagoa, the state capital when faced with emergency situations.

Though the riverside community is lucky to have a cottage hospital built and equipped by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, the facility has not been put to use several years after because of the absence of health workers.

NDV findings revealed that the only thing preventing the centre from functioning is the absence of health workers. Items like hospital beds, soundproof generating sets, doctors and other health workers’ quarters were left to rot away.

This reporter, who was at the riverside town, which could only be accessed by the river, noticed that the sprawling complex overgrown with weeds is being occupied by corps members serving in the community.

The situation at Ondewari aptly captured the sad reality in the hinterland where some of these cottage hospitals built and equipped by the oil companies are wasting away due to the absence of medical personnel to manage them, thereby denying the rural folks functional health facilities.

A concerned indigene, Alagoa Morris said:” Incidentally, most of such facilities are not even sponsored or built by the government; oil companies sponsored the structures and even equipped them with medical equipment, including staff quarters in some cases.

“Those in the creeks and the distance, cost and availability of transport are added challenges to the rural folks. Sometimes death occurs while on the way to the state capital to seek medical attention.

“Interestingly, this cottage hospital was built and equipped by Agip, what is needed is for the state government to take over the facility by sending a doctor and other health personnel to manage the centre which they have failed to do.

“While we (Bayelsans) are complaining about the lack of medical facilities in the rural areas and the government promised a functional health facility in all political wards in the state; wouldn’t it be an advantage if the oil companies have already provided such facilities and also equipped same in some communities?”

Also the paramount ruler of the community, Chief Robert Ikisa decried the state of the health facility in his domain and appealed to the state government to deploy health personnel to the cottage hospital so as to save them the trouble of travelling to Yenagoa on the water with all the discomfort associated with river transportation in search of medical attention

He said: “We are calling on the state government to send doctors and other health workers to the hospital. This will save us the trauma of travelling far to seek medical treatment.”

Vanguard News Nigeria


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