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Medical experts chart path to functional primary healthcare system


Stakeholder in the health sector have advised the ministries of health and education to collaborate in policy developments that will enable the country to achieve primary healthcare and health for all. They urged the States to key into the present State primary health care development agencies (SPHCDAs) drive and establish best well-formed and properly manned ones, for their respective States.

They noted that it was imperative that tackling healthcare delivery problems should not be business as usual, but should be brought under frequent scrutiny in order to find lasting solutions.The health experts in their different presentations at the 19th edition of Bassey Andah Memorial lecture, held recently, at the Senate Chambers of the University of Calabar, Cross River State, also urged the Federal Government to hand over primary healthcare to the States and local governments authorities.

They also argued that Federal Government and her agencies have no direct business with primary healthcare whatsoever, except to assist the States independently and evenly equitably, in developing it for their individual LGAs; as is their State or federating unit primary duty to handle.

Former minister of Health, Prof. Adenike Grange, in her keynote address at the forum, with the theme “The challenges of healthcare delivery for all ages in Nigeria”, revealed that health challenges occurring in children under five years of age are preventable, if the parents are educated and have access to primary healthcare clinics, where they can receive more specific knowledge tailored to the specific needs of the family.

She advocated for the prevention of inadvertent early parenthood and sexually transmitted diseases among adolescents, through health screening to ensure a smooth transition into middle and old age, by preventing or treating diseases such as malaria, hypertension, cardiac disorders, obesity, anaemia and cancer.

Grange acknowledged that the country has over the years, formulated effective policies and programmes for the establishment of primary, secondary and tertiary facilities and institutions to combat all health challenges, but however attributed their non-implementation to a rapidly growing population, which according to her is disproportionate to the availability of resources to provide the infrastructure for a sustainable development of goods and services, including healthcare.

A professor of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Ibadan, Michael Asuzu, said what the country needs to achieve primary health care at the LGA level, with its full two-way referral system and the inter-sectoral integration and collaboration for primary healthcare (PHC) and health for all (HFA), is to integrate nursing and midwifery, as primary health profession(s).

According to him, “It will therefore be very easy to realize that until we have looked for and attended to the fundamental need for primary and fully professional (health care or community) nursing and midwifery, we cannot be taken as being any serious in regard of getting health care to all Nigerians everywhere that they are.”

Professor Bassey Andah Foundation is a non-governmental organization (NGO), duly registered in Nigeria for the primary objectives of executing the management and supervision of research into the published and unpublished works of Late Professor Bassey Andah, establishment of an Education Trust Fund for the education of needy children and orphans in Nigeria Colleges and tertiary institutions, organizing symposia, workshop and conferences in the field of Archaeology and Anthropology and related disciplines.

It was also established with the objective of ensuring, promoting and financing the establishment of Chairs for the study of Archaeology and Anthropology in selected Nigerian Universities, conducting and organizing an Annual Memorial Lecture for Professor Bassey Andah, establishment of a center of excellence to be called Professor Bassey Andah Memorial Foundation Center as well as promoting the educational, moral and Christian ideals of Late Professor Bassey Andah.

Bassey Andah, was a thorough bred scholar and teacher, an astute university Administrator, an elder of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, a keen sportsman, the first African Professor of Archaeology in Africa and the First Black African President of the World Black Archaeology Congress (WAC).The Foundation seeks to establish linkages between universities and similar organizations in Nigeria and the world, to develop a quantum of academic exchange for the benefit of the people of Africa and in the spirit of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

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