Nigeria targets 100m citizens in primary healthcare in 10 years

Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja

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Nigeria is working to reach 100million citizens through at least 10,000 revitalized Primary Healthcare Centres, PHCs, through a phased approach in the next 10 years.

This was contained in a presentation made by the Federal Ministry of Health on Tuesday at the meeting of the National Economic Council, NEC, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The presentation of the Ministry of Health also showed that “Nigeria is steadily progressing towards polio certification by June 2020.”

Governor of Anambra, Willy Obiano, who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting, said that “despite the progress, there is still work to be done to sustain the current polio gains and stop the transmission of Circulating Vaccine Derived Polio Viruses (Cvdpv2).”

He said that Nigeria has, in the past two years, recorded some improvement in immunization coverage rates and overall Routine Immunization (RI) programme performance.

Obiano said that the Ministry of Health, however, pointed out in its report, that “despite the country’s progress in RI and Polio, other core PHC indices have been stagnated.

“The current aspiration of the Federal Government of Nigeria is to reach 100 million Nigerians through at least 10,000 revitalized PHCs through a phased approach over a period of 10 years.

“The expectation of state governments is to revitalize one (1) PHC per ward with the full complement of the required infrastructure, HRH, basic services and key support systems.

“However, so far no State in Nigeria has been able to achieve fully revitalized PHCs in accordance with set criteria.”

Requests to NEC
Obiano said that the ministry requested the NEC to intervene to ensure that Nigeria sustains the achievements it has made in healthcare provision.

The requests included “timely release of states and LGA counterpart funds for polio, yellow fever, measles and meningitis campaigns;” and “establishment of taskforce on immunization chaired by the Deputy Governor in the remaining 13 states.”

The ministry also appealed for “increased political oversight by executive governors and chairmen of LGA’s in line with Abuja commitment indicators;” and for the “executive Governors to call for quarterly meetings of LGA Chairmen and states health team to review the progress in achieving Sustainable Primary Healthcare and Universal Healthcare Coverage which are central to improving Human Capital Development.”

Disease control
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who was also at the briefing, said the Council received a presentation from the Director General, National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, on disease control efforts of the ministry.

“The DG in his presentation stated that Lassa Fever in Nigeria in 2019 recorded 739 confirmed cases, 156 deaths and 23 States affected.  Inn the case of Yellow Fever in 2019, 86 confirmed cases were recorded, 10 deaths confirmed cases and 17 States affected.

“He added that Monkey Pox in 2019 recorded 43 confirmed cases, 0 death since 2019 and 9 States affected; while Meningitis and Measles recorded 122 confirmed cases, 101 deaths, 18 States affected, 2,150 confirmed cases, 275 deaths and 36 States affected respectively.

“He said that States have responsibility for health, including preparedness for and response to disease outbreaks within their boundaries”

Healthcare Provision Fund
Dr. Ehanire said presentation was also made to the NEC, on the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.

According to him, the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, BHCPF,  was established to address challenges in the health sector and place Nigeria on the path to Universal Health Coverage.

He said that the BHCPF was designed to align payment mechanism, to provide incentives, to apply increase access and to use of quality health services by then poor and vulnerable.

“So far, thirty three (33) State of the Federation and the FCT have committed to participating in the programme and implementation has progress steadily over the past six months.”

Role of Governors
Ehanire said his presentation at the NEC outlined the role governors have to play to ensure the success of the scheme.

He said the areas where the ministry was seeking the support of governors were leadership by ensuring that the state steering committees and agencies are functional and effective and advocacy.

The ministry also sought for additional resources, stating that funds  as currently appropriated would be insufficient to provide required basic services for all Nigerians.

Nnenna.O