Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) has urged the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to as a matter of urgency liberate procurement data in its possession to enable individuals and groups follow up on the numerous projects being undertaken to provide healthcare facilities in the country.
PPDC noted that liberation would require the NPHCDA to make the information proactively available based on the Open Contracting Data Standards (OCDS).
The Chief Executive Officer, PPDC, Seember Nyager while briefing the press recently in Abuja, stated that the findings of procurement monitors who visited Primary Health Care Centers in various states have necessitated the need for ways to ultimately identify processes to improve primary health care service and access in Nigeria.
She explained that in 2015, the PPDC mobilised procurement monitors to track and verify the performance of contracts awarded in the year 2014 for constructing and equipping Primary Health Care Centres across the country. Adding that it was aimed at ensuring public resources have been judiciously utilised in providing public services.
According to Nyager, “In order to undertake this exercise, procurement monitors submitted several Freedom of Information request to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) requesting for procurement plans, details of the tender advertisement to interested bidders, contract awards and contract implementation for each of the project being undertaken in order to link various procurement data obtained to the public health centres.
“Out of the 18 PHCs covered in our report were randomly selected based on procurement data available on Budeshi for Benue, Lagos, Oyo, Osun and Ogun States.
“We observed that PHCs in the South function better. The visits showed a clear distinction between those in the South and those in the Northern part of the country. Although, two PHCs in Oyo and Osun states could not be located, the PHCs in the South seemed better integrated with the communities and were more functional than those in the North built within the same time frame.
“For instance, out of the six PHC constructed in Kano State in 2014, only three are active, one; built but not functioning. One could not be located and the other remaining one building under construction abandoned. In Benue State, one of the six PHCs is active. Four, built but not functioning and one, abandoned.
“The best people to report on procurement performance of primary health care facilities are the beneficiaries of these services. However, the accuracy and precision of the feedback will be based on the communities knowledge of what is to be offered by any by any PHC facility.
“It is recommended that the NPHCDA require each PHC being built, to publicly provide a sign-post of the specifications for that primary healthcare centre. A clear infographic made public on the sign-post at the location of the PHC would serve this purpose.
Nyager further explained that the Open Contracting Data Standards (OCDS) will enable each stage in the procurement process to be linked to eventual primary healthcare facilities. “This would further enable the people to provide NPHCDA with feedback on various procurement implementation processes.”