Maternal and Child Health Clinic, Gwada: Inadequate Antenatal And Family Planning Commodities


The Maternal and Child Health Clinic (MCH) Gwada is the only government owned Primary Health Centre (PHC) in the Gwada community of Shiroro Local Government Area (LGA) of Niger State. The MCH Gwada was created with intention of providing maternal and child health services to the community as well as other neighbouring communities. However, due to the inconsistent supply of antenatal medications and family planning commodities, the health facility is not able to perform its primary functions effectively.

Helen Augustine, the officer-in-charge of the facility, says that due to the shortage in medicine and commodities, most of the women who attend the MCH Gwada do not receive the care they need. “Previously, we used to carry out house to house sensitisation before women would visit the facility for family planning services. Now women come for the services without any mobilisation, but the commodities are not available”. She pointed out that the inadequacy might discourage women from coming for the commodities which will contribute to them having unplanned pregnancies.

Fatima Abdullahi is a community member who visited the PHC for to access family planning services. She, however, had to return home without being able to access them as the commodities were not available. Ms. Abdullahi said that this was a frequent occurrence, and many other women in the community often faced the same challenge.

Sa’adatu Yerima had also been on a routine antenatal visit to the health facility and like Ms. Abdullahi, she had to return home without the necessary medication as the health facility had been out of stock. “Most times they prescribe the drugs for us, and we must buy them outside. If we don’t have money, we must go on like that without taking our antenatal drugs.”

In addition to these frequent stock outs, the MCH Gwada is also dealing with the challenge of broken-down infrastructure; the floor of the facility is worn out and full of cracks while the beds and other equipment are also in bad shape. Nigeria’s maternal mortality indices are very poor and access to routine antenatal medications is one of the effective ways to improve the wellbeing of both the mother and her baby. Additionally, access to family planning commodities gives women the opportunity to prevent unplanned pregnancies, giving them more time for themselves and their families.

The Gwada community members are calling for the officials of the Shiroro Local Government Area and the government of Niger State to ensure that there is a regular stock up of antenatal medications and family planning commodities in MCH Gwada as an urgent rehabilitation of MCH Gwada is needed, including provision of new equipment like beds and mattresses, among others.