FG, Governors Affirm Commitment to Seattle Declaration on Primary Health Care

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

The federal government and Nigerian governors yesterday affirmed their commitment to strengthen primary health care system in the country.

While the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed expressed the federal government’s commitment in support of primary health care in Nigeria, the position of the governors was disclosed by the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who is also the governor of Ekiti State.

They spoke at the Primary Health Care Leadership Challenge Fund and the launch of states’ charter on States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme in Abuja.

Ahmed said: “Let me express the commitment of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to support the States in the implementation of the Charter as we work together to further deepen on-going reforms in public finance management.

“I wish to also use this opportunity to implore our friends in the media and the civil society as partners in development to join hands with the states to ensure the sustainability of SFTAS ideals.”

On his part, Fayemi said: “We therefore adopt and confirm our commitment in line with the Seattle Declaration as outlined.”

According to Fayemi, the Seattle declaration aims at, “improving the governance of the primary healthcare system as a sub national level by fully implementing the primary health care under one roof policy, and providing active leadership for primary health care through regular engagement with relevant primary health care stakeholders and quarterly primary health care performance review at the State Executive Council meetings;

“To promote progressive increase in primary health care funding by ensuring efficient budgeting that is aligned to annual operational plans, promptly releasing approved budget to the state primary health care board, and primary health care facilities and ensuring that there is a mechanism in place for basic health care provision, fund implementation and oversight at the state and facility levels;

“Recruit requisite health workforce to ensure that all primary health care facilities have the minimum staffing requirements appropriate for their level in line with the state’s minimum service package.”

Among others, he also said it includes to institute a culture of the use of evidence in decision making by ensuring that the data quality across all primary health care facilities was progressively improved.

He added: “With the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Aliko Dangote Foundation, we conveyed the roundtable on 1213 projects at the United States of America to reflect on developmental agenda for immunisation, primary health care and human capital development.

“This culminated in what is now known as the Seattle declination, which restates the commitments of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to strengthen leadership and accountability for the primary health care system at the state level,” he stressed.

Fayemi noted improvement in some of the health indices, such as immunisation coverage.

“The primary health care Leadership Challenge aims to address bottlenecks as it strives to build a resilient public health care system. On our part, the agenda of the forum representing the 36 states of the federation has taken up the challenge. We have done in the past with polio eradication and we’re ready to do it again for primary health care system, especially given our recent experience with the COVID 19 pandemic”, he declared.

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