Part of the facility's ceiling has fallen off
Part of the facility's ceiling has fallen off

Lolobi Health Centre reeling from neglect - Chief, head of facility appeal for intervention

The people of Lolobi got their name from the migrant Ewedɔme in the area because they were quick to melt iron to make various farming implements and ironware.

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Lolobi means “people who melt and readily make iron implements”. It is a contraction of lolo ‘to melt’ and bi ‘ready’ or ‘complete.’ 

But all is not well with the iron smelters. Their health is at stake, as the only facility that serves them has suffered neglect over the years.

The Chief and people of the Lolobi Traditional Area in the Guan District of the Oti Region have, therefore, appealed to the government and major stakeholders to, as a matter of urgency offer, support to the community's only health facility.

They said the poorly resourced Lolobi Health Centre is struggling to provide quality healthcare for the communities it serves.

The facility, which attends to an average of 30 out-patients daily, is housed in a building donated by a benevolent indigene in 1991. 

However, the building, which was refurbished by the Korea Foundation for International Healthcare (KOFIH), has become dilapidated over the years, with cracks running through its walls due to the lack of resources to maintain it.

Lolobi

While parts of its ceiling have fallen off, the facility also boasts a stationary broken-down tricycle ambulance donated by the KOFIH Foundation, which has been rendered immovable due to maintenance issues.

One midwife

With a staff strength of 10 health workers, the facility also has only one midwife.

The midwife, Victoria Dogbe, who also doubles as the head of the facility, said for the past seven years of service at the facility, there has been little improvement in staff's working conditions. 

She lamented constant work fatigue adding, "Being the only midwife is a great challenge. I have to deliver Antenatal Care (A&C) in the morning, stay on into the night and perform deliveries, as well as go on outreaches.

"I am suffering...I need a midwife to come and assist me," she added 

Dogbe handles an average of 10 deliveries every month and 65 A&C sessions.

With only three staff accommodated at the staff quarters, a project to expand the staff accommodation has also stalled. 

Poor security 

Dogbe is also concerned about security at the facility which is housed in an open space. She told the Daily Graphic that the salary of the only security man at the facility was paid from the pocket of staff, through contributions. 

She disclosed that the facility faces numerous security threats from intruders, exacerbated by the lack of fencing around the clinic's perimeter, which provides easy access to the facility.

Among her appeals is the need for a Physician Health Assistant at the facility.

Chief's appeal

The appeal was re-echoed by the Paramount Chief of the Lolobi Traditional Area, Nana Akoto Masakyi III, who indicated that the ever-increasing Outpatient department (OPD) attendance and the large catchment area of the facility required the services of a Physician Health Assistant.

Making the call during the celebration of this year's Lolobi Ipor-Rice festival last Saturday, the Paramount Chief said his people placed huge value on health while paying glowing tribute to health workers at the facility for giving their best, despite the limited resources available.

He also appealed to the government to, as a matter of urgency, assist them to complete the nurses' quarters under construction.

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"I would like to appeal to the government through the Regional Minister, Oti Region, and the District Chief Executive, Guan District, to come to our aid to complete the nurse's quarters under construction. Looking at the ever-growing OPD attendance and the large catchment area of the Health Centre, we appeal to your office to provide us with a Physician Health Assistant," he said.

In response, the Oti Regional Minister, Joshua Makubu, who was the guest of honour at the ceremony, encouraged the Assembly member of the area to liaise with the Paramount Chief to present an application to the Guan District Assembly for a possible intervention through the District Assembly's Common Fund.

The Ipor-Rice festival is an annual celebration in the Lolobi Traditional Area, held to raise funds for development projects such as social infrastructure and open doors to investors in the field of entrepreneurship, trade and commerce, as well as agriculture and health to improve the well-being of the people.

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