It is nine in the morning and the sun is high up in the sky above Boulkagou, a village some 120 kilometres from Niamey. At the health centre a group of forty women is waiting for the midwife to arrive. Things have changed in Boulkagou. Until four months ago these women had to go to Gothèye, some 35 kilometres away, to obtain care from mobile health agents who travel on motorbikes in this desert region and they had to purchase medication on the streets.
With the re-opening of the health centre, which had been in poor shape for many years, they now can access quality health care. The building has been completely redone and the working conditions have much improved. Better still, in addition of the rehabilitation, this village health centre has been equipped and benefits of a motorbike. ‘We did not even have a consultation table or bed to give birth. We lacked prenatal or baby consultation equipment. Now, the Belgian development agency has provided us with all of this,’ witnesses Issaka Tahirou, a nurse at the health centre.
In addition to the equipment, the small pharmacy of the health centre obtained essential pharmaceuticals. Thanks to the new working conditions, more people come to the health centre. ‘This past quarter, we registered no less than 4,004 consultations,’ confirms Issaka. ‘This figure shows how relevant such an initiative is.‘