Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Executive Secretary of the National Primary Health Care Developmental Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib has said that not less than 4,000 Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in Nigeria have so far been renovated by the federal government.
He said the renovation of PHCs which were among the 10,000 such facilities earmarked for rehabilitation, was carried out with support from states and developmental partners.
Shuaib made this known recently in Abuja at the first-year anniversary of the Technical Support Programme (TSP) of the agency aimed at providing technical assistance for states’ primary healthcare boards and agencies upon request.
According to him, federal government was also conducting human resource and material upgrade in the affected hospitals in order to restore them for efficient use.
“We are very mindful that we are working in a tight fiscal space, so what it means is that we are not expecting that overnight all 10,000 PHC centers will be available.
“So far, since President Muhammadu Buhari launched the revitalisation of 10,000 PHC centres across the country in Kuchigoro in 2017, working with states, donor and development partners, about 4,000 PHC centres have been renovated,” he said.
Shuaib further explained that for the first time in the history of Nigeria, under the leadership of President Buhari, there was a fund set aside to the tune of N55.5 billion in 2019 budget towards providing basic healthcare services for all Nigerians.
He said the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) was drawn from the one per cent of the federal government Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) set aside under the National Health Act (2014) as well as contributions from donor grants set aside to fund the basic health needs.
Shuaibu however acknowledged that there was still gap that needed to be filled, like electricity, water, commodities, and drugs.
“Maybe what we all need to agree is that within the first two to three years, at least 50 per cent of Nigerians should be able to access any PHC center and get essential services; in another five years, 70 per cent; then maybe in another seven to 10 years, by the time we are measuring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2030, all Nigerians should have access to PHC services that can actually treat their conditions that will not lead to catastrophic financial hardship as a result of paying out of pocket.”
While explaining the format used for disbursing the basic healthcare fund, the NPHCDA boss said his agency got 45 per cent, the NHIS got 50 per cent while the remaining five per cent went to the Federal Ministry of health and the NCDC.
The Minister of Health, Mr. Osagie Ehanire, in his keynote address lauded the TSP initiative by the NPHCDA as being a very effective tool ensuring that every citizen has access to optimum quality healthcare irrespective of social status.
The minister who was represented by the Director of Public Health of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs. Evelyn Ngige, said, “The approach to the TSP is prompt and aimed at ensuring that the agency achieves its mission which is to deliver technical support to states primary healthcare boards and agencies.
“The first approach focuses on developing and institutionalising a system to deliver the needed support to the states while the second focuses on systematically building agencies staff capacity to effectively operationalise this system.
“These strategies if well implemented will achieve a healthy health system and also enhance government ownership of interventions for effective delivery of public health programmes at the primary health care level. This programme is well on track with visible successes across the six intervention areas.”