IT WAS A HOT SATURDAY. As part of our selfless national service for our country as Youth Corp members, we had decided to visit a local community health centre to donate gift items to patients on admission, and also to relate with the medical personnel.

The state of facilities at the Community Health Centre resonated the discordant symphony of rottenness, neglect and stench in social infrastructures in the country. While interacting with the matron of the centre, we were made to understand that electricity supply to the health centre had been cut off as they were unable to clear the “PHCN bill of about N87,000”, and that the government never installed any generating plant. They made do with lanterns and candles in the night. We also discovered that the health centre had no residential doctor. All delicate cases were referred to the State Specialist Hospital. The nets on the windows were all in shreds; the toilet facilities were in distasteful shapes as there was no bore-hole or tap to maintain its cleanliness, the near-by bush became the only option.

We felt sorry for the rotten system and the discomforted patients. We wished we could really do something, but how? The patients were even pleading with us to speak to the government on their behalf – at least to renovate the only health facility in the community. But how would we convince them we had come on the visit with all our gift items coming from our meagre allowance? The local government council had only provided us a bus to convey us to the health centre.