By John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Kaduna State government has said that it intends to recruit 3,059 primary healthcare workers to improve healthcare delivery in the state.
The Executive Secretary of the state Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Hamza Abubakar, disclosed this on Wednesday when a coalition of non-governmental agencies in the state, under the aegis of Partnership for Advocacy in Child Health @Scale (PASA) paid a visit to the Ministry of Health.
Abubakar disclosed further that the state Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has approved the purchase of contraceptives and family planning commodities worth over N300 million.
He said the state government has achieved much in the healthcare sector by upgrading primary health centres across the state.
According to him, of the 255 primary healthcare centres being upgraded, 185 have been completed, while others are at various stages of completion.
Abubakar said: “In terms of access of modern contraceptives to women, though we are far from our target, one of the major factors is the fact that there was too much prolonged time of stock-outs for the commodities.
“I remember his Excellency, Governor Nasir el-Rufai, spoke with the Minister of Health to give us permission in the state to procure because the family planning commodities are actually sent centrally from Lagos.
“Now we have gotten permission from the Federal Ministry of Health to procure the family planning commodities ourselves.
“We have got to the point of processing the gap and we got approval from the governor to do virement of over N300 million worth of contraceptives and other family planning commodities.
“We also have approval to recruit 3,059 health care workers and the recruitment will soon start.”
According to him, “For upgrade of facilities, the state government has made tremendous achievements.
“You may be aware that the government of Kaduna State has made it mandatory to upgrade, by rebuilding, by refurbishing 255 primary health centres so that we can have functional primary healthcare centre per ward.
183 of the 255 have been completed, about 50 are up to 60 and 94 per cent completion.”
He added that a supplementary budget of N1 billion has been made to complete the remaining upgrade.
Speaking earlier on behalf of the NGOs, Mr. Bartholomew Sati said the visit to the ministry was to congratulate the state government for its recent achievements in the health sector.
Sati noted that the data from the 2018 Demographic Health Survey showed that Kaduna State is contributing to health in Nigeria with 23.3 per cent of women delivered by skilled birth attendants, 13.7 per cent of women using modern family planning and 2.1 per cent of under-five children given ORS & ZINC.
He said the visit was timely and was a response to government’s commitment to improving its
performance in the health sector.
He however appealed to the state government to address some challenges facing the health sector.
He said: “In 2018, Kaduna State allocated N17.522 billion or 8.1 per cent of the total budget to the health sector but released only N7.999 billion or 45.65 per cent of the allocated sum.
“It is our prayer for full and timely releases of allocations to the health sector.
“The unmet need for family planning in Kaduna State has increased by 6.5 per cent over the last five years. This means that services are not able to keep pace for the demands of women seeking family planning methods.
“With the teeming population of Kaduna State expanded coverage under the Kaduna State Contributory Health Insurance Scheme will remain a challenge without adequate and sustainable inflows of funds.
“Optimal coverage for Routine Immunization in Kaduna State will also remain a challenge without full implementation of the Primary Health Care Under One Roof Policy.”