The ability to access health facilities can be a major barrier to patients receiving care. In Lagos, Nigeria, we have been working to improve access to health services by working with the community and local authorities to remove barriers.
In Baruwa village the Primary Health Care (PHC) facility was extremely difficult for the community to access. The community gate did not allow motorcycles and tricycles to pass through. As these are the main modes of transport, this stopped people from using the health facility.
As part of the PATHS2 programme, we have established Ward Health Committees (WHC). These are voluntary committees which bring together the community, health care facilities and local authorities with the aim to improve health services.
Following training, the WHC in Baruwa asked people in the community about the challenges they face when trying to access health services at the local health facility, and found out about the problems as a result of the poor road and narrow community gate that leads to the facility. They took the problem to the local government and community authorities, which agreed to pave the road to the facility. In addition, permission was granted to allow tricycle and motorcycle riders through the community gate that leads to the PHC facility.
According to the Officer-in-Charge of the PHC facility, Mrs. Olaniyan, Baruwa PHC facility has seen a tremendous increase in the number of people attending the facility due to the improvement in the accessibility and thanks to the WHC. She said:
“The road is now good and people can now come here easily with Keke (tricycle) and Okada (motorcycle). The PHC used to have less than 15 people in attendance but now in a month they record attendance of over 150 people.”
Mrs. Shade Quadri, who lives in Ajelanwa area of Baruwa, said:
“I once had a negative perspective about the Baruwa PHC facility for a lot of reasons one of which was the poor road access. The road was so bad that people hardly visited the facility particularly when it rained. Our fear has now been solved”