The Guardian
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Swiss firm, Artic Infrastructure seek investment in primary healthcare


Doctors Without Borders/MédecinsSans Frontières (MSF) is working with the federal government to develop a three-year national action plan on noma disease control in the country.

Noma (cancrum oris) is an orofacial gangrene, which, during its fulminating course, causes progressive and mutilating destruction of the infected tissues. It occurs mainly in children with malnutrition, poor oral hygiene and debilitating concurrent illness, disfiguring the patients.To this end, stakeholders in the health sector would today at National Noma Day and Workshop design a work strategy on mapping by various actors.

Communication Manager, NOMA Project,Kavitha Devadas in a statement made available to The Guardian noted that though the project is based in Sokoto state, patients come from all over Nigeria adding that survivors of the disease were left with holes or on their faces.

Devadas noted that despite being preventable and treatable, a large number of noma patients die because of low awareness and lack of access to healthcare. She noted that the MSF programme has operated on over 280 patients and performed over 500 surgeries.

Meanwhile, Support Switzerland and Artic Infrastructure Lagos have called for massive investment in primary health delivery to reduce the high rate of infant and maternal mortality.

President, Support Switzerland, Dr. Vincent da-Silva, who led a delegation of the organisation to Nigeria, made the call in Lagos at the graduation of traditional medical practitioners drawn from Makoko/Iwaya Waterfront community in Lagos.Dr. Silva, who described primary care as the cornerstone of the healthcare system in any country, urged the federal government to be more open towards welcoming private initiatives to make healthcare affordable and accessible to the people.

According to him, since government alone cannot achieve affordable and accessible healthcare to the people, it is only wise to use amenities provided by the private sector.He stressed that more emphasis should be laid on primary healthcare as done in more advanced countries, then up to the secondary and to the tertiary levels because the ordinary man in the street could not easily access healthcare in other levels.

The event was an effort to start primary healthcare by empowering the traditional healers and birth attendants, who are often on the ground.He said: “As a private NGO, we thought that we are in a position to initiate something like this to assist government in doing its work, in the hope that they will take this in and continue on that level, work with other private sector players to achieve what they are supposed to achieve.”

Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, called for collaboration with relevant stakeholders to reduce infant and maternal mortality in the state.He congratulated the graduands and urged them to know their limit during their works.

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