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Buhari targets 10,000 functional primary healthcare centres, says NPHCDA boss

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The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib has said that building at least 10,000 functional primary health care centres across Nigeria is one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ambitions in the area of primary health care services.

He stated that President Buhari had laid a solid foundation in primary healthcare services when in January 2017, he commissioned the primary health care centre in Kutunguru, Abuja, emphasizing that since the commissioning of that health facility, “we have now engaged the states, with the private sector, with some NGOs and some 4,000 primary health care centres have now been revitalized, providing primary health care services across Nigeria.”

The NAPHCDA CEO also said that in the last two years, the agency had initiated several innovative interventions to revamp the primary health care and reposition it to effectively deliver on its mandates.

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The interventions, he said, cut across organizational strengthening, financial and programmatic reforms.

Shuaib made this known while addressing newsmen at the just concluded 35th Annual General Meeting/Scientific Conference of the Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN) in Enugu.

The CEO, who described the future of Nigeria’s primary health care as “very bright,” said that although there are still challenges such as maternal mortality, infant mortality, child mortality, inadequate health facilities with different levels of functionality, shortage of human resources, the agency had made some progress since January 2017 he was appointed as Executive Director.

“In our communities, citizens have lost trust in the health system and many have turned their attention to alternative sources of healthcare services, including those that promote harmful practices,” he said.

He, however, said that a survey result conducted few months ago, showed that “we’ve actually achieved an unprecedented 8 per cent jump in immunization coverage from 2015 to 2018,” adding that “this is the direct result of the work the National Primary Health Care Development Agency has been doing with the Federal Ministry of Health with the states ministries of health and states primary health care Boards to make sure that women bring their children for immunization so that no child is left behind when it comes to immunization.”

The physician added: “This is the first time we’re seeing consistent rise in the number of children that we’re reaching with immunization. So we’re all excited about the progress we’re making; we’re all excited about the fact that we’re not giving any excuses for failure; we ‘re moving from mere talks to the actual things Nigerians expect this government to do.

“And this why President Muhammadu Buhari has shown in 2017 when he declared that ‘primary health care will be the cornerstone of his primary health care policy’, and this is what we have been trying to do since the last three years.”

Shuaib further said: “We want to achieve at least 10,000 functional primary health care centres where all Nigerians can go for primary health care and they will be treated with respect, dignity and compassion; that is the vision of Mr. President for Nigerians.

“And that is possible with the Universal Health Coverage Basic Health Care Provision Fund which is to be signed into law and declared by President Buhari; it will make it easier for all Nigerians to have access to primary health care where they live in their communities without suffering the hardship of paying out of their pockets; we ‘re first starting with nursing mothers with children under five years; so that they go to their locality and they don’t have to pay a kobo before they can access quality primary healthcare.”

The progress notwithstanding, he said that the country’s health system was beset with several challenges that include high infant mortality, shortage of critical human resources, inadequate power or water supply, commodity stock-outs, equipment inadequacy and weak standards.


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