Governors pledge commitment to quality healthcare delivery
• ‘Infant mortality drops, malnutrition rises in children’
Governors of the 36 states have pledged commitment to the policy on Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR) to halt worsening healthcare delivery.
They made the promise yesterday in Abuja at a conference organised by the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF).
The Director General of the forum, Asishana Okauru, disclosed that implementing the PHCUOR across the country is one of the priorities of the NGF.
According to him, the NGF is worried about the current level of healthcare delivery in the country, which is ranked as the second highest in the world for both maternal and under-five mortality rate.
He explained that preventable diseases that could be averted, if the primary healthcare system is strengthened, caused a good proportion of deaths recorded.
He stressed that the governors are concerned about this high mortality rate and are committed to reversing the trend.
He said: “The NGF has three key strategic objectives in health, the first being to promote partnership between state governments and the federal ministries, departments and agencies involved in health. This would facilitate the implementation of health policies at the sub-national level.
“The second objective is to promote the implementation of the Abuja Declaration of apportioning 15 per cent of the state budget to health. Thirdly, the NGF hopes to promote the development of pro-poor financial protection schemes across the states to ensure universal health coverage.”
He urged all stakeholders to identify bottlenecks in the PHCUOR implementation and build consensus on strategies for overcoming them.
He added that the NGF strategy is anchored on collaborative action, peer pressure, peer learning and advocacy.
The Commissioner for Health in Delta State, Dr. Nicholas Azinge, blamed the lack of coordination at the local councils level for the inadequate attention to the PHCUOR policy.
Azinge, who is also the coordinator for health at the forum, explained that the implementation would offer a better care and advance the universal healthcare for the citizens.
Also, the Executive Director National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said the policy would help to consolidate the fragmentation of management system into one way, which could be monitored and evaluated.
Meanwhile, a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), UNICEF and other key partners has shown that infant mortality rate in Nigeria has dropped to 70 per 1000 births, from 97 in 2011.
The report titled: “Fifth Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS5), conducted in 2016 and 2017,” also revealed that deaths among children under age five years have equally dropped from 158 in 2011, to 120 per 1000 live births.
The report noted that malnutrition among children under age five years has worsened nationwide, with the highest concerns being in the northern states.
The Acting Representative for UNICEF in Nigeria, Pernille Ironside, acknowledged that MICS5 data that made the analysis.
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