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Notwithstanding efforts by the Oyo State Government to reposition primary healthcare through the renovation of primary health centres (PHCs) across the 33 local government in the state, staff in these centres decried the multiple challenges faced in delivering health care to the people during the emergency period of COVID-19.

An investigation launched into some of these allegations revealed that, for instance, many of these health workers did not receive relief packages from the government, only got N10,000 as hazard fee up till November 2022, forced to vaccinate community people without proper remuneration.

Bukunmi Olowookere (Not real name) one of the health workers in the Apata area explained that the government did not fulfil many of the promises made during the COVID-19 era. She noted that they put their lives on the line to ensure that people were adequately equipped with information about the virus and they were equally active throughout in responding to discovered cases in the state.

“During the COVID era, we ensured that residents have access to the COVID-19 vaccination on a weekly basis. We administered the vaccines for free of charge, including the cards and yet I wasn’t given a dime,” she lamented.

Like Olowookere, Mrs. Ayodeji (Not real name), a frontline health worker in the Samonda area of Ibadan also decried the treatment during the COVID-19 period era in the state. In his PHC, they got materials like a hand sanitizer facility to help patients observe the protocol but yet they didn’t provide further assistance to set up the facility. “They rot away in our store now.”

Another issue she highlighted was the nature of the mass campaigns on COVID-19 during the era. She mentioned that in the Ibadan North area where she worked throughout, they were subjected to inhumane treatment, adding that they continued to be forced to be active despite the harsh treatment.

“People [ health workers] really suffered in all wards. We had 19 teams altogether. We went on three phases of the vaccination exercise forcefully. As a supervisor, I was even responsible for uploading people’s details on the server but till now, we didn’t receive any pay,” he said regrettably.

According to the research shared by Citizens’ Gavel, a civic tech organisation with headquarters in Ibadan and shared with this platform, PHCs in Oyo state are faced with a shortage of trained health workers and during the COVID-19 era relief packages were not evenly distributed. The infographics also showed that the government did not fulfil the promise made to the frontiers workers.

“There were cases of a shortage of trained health workers, and relief materials (palliative) were not evenly distributed. Even the stipends promised to the frontliners by the government were not paid. At the Oyo State Primary Health Care Board centre, only the senior officers of the facility had access to relief materials (food), while the junior staff were exempted,” Citizens Gavel Report revealed.

Article written by Kehinde Adegboyega.

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