Step up efforts to revamp PHCs in your domains, FG charges Govs - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Friday, November 18, 2022

Step up efforts to revamp PHCs in your domains, FG charges Govs

The Federal Government has called on state governments to step up the efforts to revitalise the Primary Health Care system in their domains as part of moves to ensure the country achieve universal health coverage. 

It also urged state governors to demonstrate their commitment to the Seattle Declaration through the sustenance of their investment in the Primary Healthcare Centers (PHCs).

The Executive Secretary, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaibu, made the appeal in Abuja at the official Induction and Orientation of select professionals who have been appointed as members of the Independent Judging Panel (IJP) for the PHC Leadership Challenge Fund.

The Challenge Fund is a multi-sectoral PHC system strengthening project executed by the NPHCDA, the Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF), in collaboration with UNICEF and funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

It is designed to catalyse the implementation of the Seattle Declaration by State Governors while seeking to renew their political commitments to improving PHC outcomes through regular engagement with relevant stakeholders, promoting a progressive increase in funding, and recruiting requisite health workforce.

Nonetheless, Shuaibu stated that the progress the country is making to revamp the primary healthcare sector had not been significant and does not match Nigeria's capabilities as a country

He said, "For all of the investments that have been made in the primary healthcare space, we're not seeing commensurate results in terms of the output.

"Nigeria continues to have one of the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality. We have seen great progress in the last few years, but the progress that we are seeing is not significant enough and does not match our capabilities as a country."

In the same vein, the Chair of the Independent Judging Panel (IJP) for the PHC Leadership Challenge Fund, Prof. Clara Ejembi, said regretted that since 1986 when efforts began to orientate the healthcare system towards PHCs the story in terms of positive indicators have not changed much despite all the investments.

She said, "And some of us are in the twilight of our career and are wondering what legacy we're leaving behind, if after more than 40 years, things are not changing.

"We do recognize that we cannot achieve universal health coverage and health indicators cannot improve, if we don't have a strengthen primary healthcare system. 

"We also recognize that no matter the effort, or the national level, the translation of policies and clients into actionable things and implemented compliance and getting the work done is at the subnational level.

"In the same vein, we do recognize that governance is the foundation of every effort. Without leadership, stewardship and investments by our leaders in the sub-national level, we cannot achieve much."

Ejembi stated that the panel approach their work as an opportunity to challenge the state governors to move the dial in the right direction by beginning to invest more in primary health care and putting more effort at implementation of the agreement - the Seattle Declaration in their states.

"We (Independent Judging Panel) hope that we'll have credible results and this will actually challenge our governors to do more so that together, we can change the landscape for the good of our children, mothers, nation, and for the improvement of health and development in Nigeria," she added.

In his remarks, the Director-General, Nigeria Governors Forum, Asishana Okauru, reaffirmed the commitment of the 36 state governors to strengthen the primary health care system in the country.

He said, "In fact, in 2016, the leadership of the forum were hosted in Seattle by Bill Gates and the Dangote Foundation, and eventually came up with the Seattle declaration.

"And what we're trying to do right now is to look for ways to ensure that those commitments are met. I mean this. 

"The independent judging panel has now been given the responsibility to ensure that we are able to identify states and governors who have been able to meet some of those commitments.

"The idea here is to strengthen our primary health care system in order to ensure that we achieve universal health coverage at the end of the day," he said.

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