Health agency to employ 200,000 agents

Asma'u Halilu, Kaduna

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) says it would employ 200,000 agents of CHIP to address the country’s basic health issues.
The Community Health Influences, Promoters and Service Programmes (CHIP) are expected to bridge the gap existing between communities and health care.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said this during the first quarter review meeting of the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on primary health care delivery in Kaduna, Northwest Nigeria.
“Today’s meeting is the first quarter meeting of the Northern traditional leaders committee on primary health care, saying, we are here to review all the work that was done in 2017 and then plan for very high priority intervention in our communities.”
“The President has made it clear that this programme should be held in every State of the Federation,” he stressed.
The Chief Executive officer added that, the programme was a community based one by which individuals with basic criteria but elementary school education and good stand in the community would be selected to work.
“They must be committed, well known and also chosen by the traditional institution,” adding that, the CHIP agents will be trained to address basic health conditions.
“We have a total of almost 10,000 wards in Nigeria and by calculations we would be getting nearly 200,000 CHIP agents spread across Nigeria and this would be the largest aggregations of community health workers anywhere in Africa.”
He stated that it has become necessary because statistics shows that Nigeria accounts for one of the highest rate of maternal deaths.
“Every year, up to a million women and children under five die from totally preventable course, our women die during pregnancy, our kids are dying from preventable courses such as malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea and these deaths happen before individuals get to the clinic or any health facility,” Dr Shuaib said.
“This CHIP agents will be living and working in these communities to find out how community members are doing and where people are found to be sick, they can diagnose and give free medication to the community members,” he added.
According to him, immunisation and the multiple interventions that have been proven to help reduce maternal and child death in the community are going to be implemented by these agents and the traditional institutions.
While responding, the Deputy Chairman of Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Primary Healthcare, Alhaji Samaila Mera, said that the traditional rulers would look into ways of replicating the programme in the communities to improve monitoring and surveillance.
The representative of Kaduna State Government, Mr Bonet Ufuwai, thanked the traditional rulers for their efforts in the fight against polio and also appealed for intensified efforts in mobilisation on the task ahead.