Paul Obi in Abuja
The federal government Tuesday said it has changed the structure of healthcare funding in the country, with primary health care gulping about 64 per cent of the funds in the health sector.
The new funding structure indicates an increase in the funding from 18 per cent to 64, according to an official report.
The rise in funding is linked to several interventions by the federal government on polio, vaccination, primary healthcare centres (PHCs), nursing and midwifery, among other programmes.
Speaking at the launch of Technical Support Programme (TSP) for the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said it was imperative in focusing on the primary health care sub-sector, given the challenges of accessibility and affordability in rural areas.
He said: “We need to turn things around to focus on primary health care where our people go to and that is the facility closest to our people.
“So investing in PHC is the right way to go. Over the last two years, we have changed the funding structure and the ED will testify to the fact that the agency is gulping the largest chunk of our allocation.
“When we started, it was from 18 per cent and the last continue moved to 64per cent. So the ED, you are the prime centre of attraction and I pray that you continue to deliver.”
The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, decried the increasing cases of shortage of technical support across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Shuaib said: “Today, states continue to struggle with cold chain maintenance, delivery of vaccines in the right quantity, to the right place and at the right time, shortage of human resources for health – just to mention a few.
“The persistence of these challenges clearly highlights the need for the NPHCDA to improve on the delivery of its mandate to provide policy direction, technical and logistics support to states and local government areas to implement PHC services across the 36 states and FCT.”
According to the executive director, poor coordination of technical support delivery emanating from the lack of a dedicated channel and clearly defined procedures within the NPHCDA through the states pose a great challenge in service delivery within the PHC sector.
An official of the Bill and Medlinda Gates Foundation, Jenny Segueira, also tasked government to improve its tracking mechanism in the implementation of PHC programmes.