•Challenges LGAs, states over primary healthcare
Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, has challenged local and state governments to be alive to their responsibilities in the management of primary healthcare across the country, saying Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-5s and 145 women of child bearing age daily.
Updating editors with the activities of NPHCDA charged with the responsibility of reinvigorating and repositioning the agency and sanitizing the primary healthcare system, Shuaib said the direct responsibility of managing primary healthcare in the country lies with the local and state governments, saying its own mandate is to coordinate and carry out advocacy in support of the project.
The CEO, who gave a frightening report about the state of the primary healthcare in the country, said: “The reality, despite some progress, is that the health system in Nigeria is beset with several challenges with resultant poor health indices.
‘’Nigeria makes up only two per cent of the world’s population but accounts for 14 per cent of the global maternal death burden. One in every eight Nigerian children dies before their fifth birthday; nearly 10 per cent of new born deaths occur in Nigeria every day; Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-5s and 145 women of child bearing age.’’
Shuaib, who was appointed on January 11, 2017 by President Muhammadu Buhari, added that with 40,000 health facilities across the nation, they are with different levels of functionality: shortage of critical human resources; supply challenges; inadequate power or water supply; commodity stock-outs; equipment inadequacy; weak standards/ quality, and demand for critical services.
Talking about the activities of the agency, in its efforts to fulfil its mandates, the CEO explained that over the last two years and 10 months, NPHCDA had initiated several ‘’innovative interventions’’ to revamp the agency and reposition it to effectively deliver on its mandates.
‘’These interventions cut across organisational strengthening, financial and programmatic reforms. The agency has achieved varying degrees of success in implementing the initiatives and wishes to use this opportunity to update you on the progress made so far and the plans for the future.
‘’Eradicated polio, and limited the occurrence and impact of diseases using education, immunization and other proven interventions. Improved on access to Basic Health Services — made basic health services available by ensuring communities have access to health facilities, services and health insurance’’, he added.
A parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Health with the mandate to provide technical and programmatic support to states and LGAs on the development of PHC in Nigeria, the CEO further explained that the agency had also improved on controlling preventable diseases, by improving quality of care; ensuring basic health services are people-oriented and delivered according to established quality standards and protocols.
He added that the agency had also developed high-performing health workforce: organized systems and structures to deliver effective support services through, for example, PHC guidelines, norms and enabling acts for states and LGAs, and strengthening partnerships: mobilizing and coordinating stakeholders such as Ministries, Departments and Agencies and development partners to support the implementation of PHC.
Shuaib said that the vision of the agency is to finally declare Nigeria polio free; drive routine immunisation rates up to 84 per cent by 2028; provide strategic direction on primary care revitalization; improve Image, strengthen governance and accountability.