Health Centre in Lagos slum
by Sister Esther Onokayeigho
When our Health Centre was built at Amukoko on the outskirts of Lagos city, this was already a thickly populated area with very poor facilities. It was named St.Therese’s Health Centre, but as it was attached to the local parish, the people always called it ‘Father Hospital’.They have also found that this is a place where God is at work and when they come here they find it a place of comfort and solace, as well as a place where they can be treated for ailments.
The child welfare clinics, the antenatal care and the nutrition education, all bring women and children in their droves. Treatment for TB and other opportunistic diseases associated with HIV and AIDS, and the counselling services, are also much in demand.
Then there is the community outreach and follow-up care, the rehabilitation of clients, the organisation and facilitation of workshops and seminars, all of which keeps the team of nurses and health workers very busy indeed. For the past seven years, the health Centre at Amukoko has been under the leadership of Sister Sally Davis.
Apart from serving the huge population on our doorstep, clients have been coming from distant parts of Lagos. They say that they feel their healing starts as soon as they get inside the gate!
Our latest addition at Amukoko is our Day Care Unit. This is a place where people with TB, HIV or substance abusers can come for support. Some also come for rehydration. All staff members adopt a holistic approach and respectfully encourage the clients to tell their stories in order to discern where their actual pain lies. Sometimes their presenting ailments are symptomatic of other things that are causing stress in their lives. As a result, they are guided on the way towards full recovery, or at least to live positively with their situation. The Day Care Unit has facilities like TV and video to help relaxation. Many whose homes are very poor, are glad to avail of a shower in the Day Care Unit. Snacks are also provided and the whole environment contributes to their healing process and helps them to deal with the difficulties they encounter.