Lassa Fever Now in 27 States, Says Ehanire

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Osagie-Ehanire

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

Minister for Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Thursday said the federal government has guaranteed the provision of the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) to operate 24 hours full service.

The minister stated this yesterday in Abuja when he declared open a two-day meeting with commissioners for health from the 36 states of the federation organised by the Health Department of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).

He also stated that progress is being achieved in the production of vaccines for Lassa fever, explaining that the epidemic is now in 27 states.

It was gathered that the objective of the meeting was to onboard all commissioners for health on the Seattle Declaration and strategise on its operationalisation as well as enlighten them on other health priorities of the governors’ forum.

THISDAY gathered that the meeting was to update the commissioners on priority of the national health agenda and their roles in translating them at the sub-national level.

It is also to promote experience sharing and learning among the commissioners; develop roadmap for strengthening the health commissioners’ forum for better healthcare delivery at the sub-national level.

The minister lamented that Nigeria has not reached the level of providing the quality of health required to meet its population.

Ehanire said: “We know that our country health system does not yet provide the level of quality of service required to meet the population,” while noting that Nigeria was far from reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to the minister, “For instance, the maternal mortality rate of 512 per 100,000 live births and under five mortality rate of 132 per thousand birth show that we are far away from reaching sustainable development
goals.”

He said with the right approach, appeal, and strategic use of data and resources, the country can achieve the strategic development goals, stressing that the country has the potential to become a major player in the global economy by virtue of its human resource, natural resources and endowment, as he added that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is focused on investment in human capital development.

Ehanire said the development of a functional healthcare system is the foundation of health care which he said must be complemented by a strong secondary health care system.

“The policy requires that you develop the primary, secondly and a functional health system in every local government area of the state, and when all these are not put in place, the connectivity is lost,” added.

The minister urged state commissioners for health to make their governors understand that secondary level of healthcare is as important as the primary one also.

Also, the Director-General of NGF, Asishana Okauru, in his remarks, acknowledged the ongoing efforts of the federal government to revitalise primary healthcare in Nigeria, adding that primary healthcare remains the pillar of the healthcare system.

Represented by the Head of Legal Unit, Chidioke Chuku, Okauro disclosed that the governors and the Bill and Milinda Gate Foundation as well as Aliko Dangote Foundation have made commitments aimed at promoting stronger collaboration between the governors, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Federal Ministry of Health and development partners to move forward and transform the primary healthcare at the sub-national level.