President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated the Comprehensive Primary Healthcare Centre, Kwandere, and flagged off the Community Health Influencers, Promoters and Services (CHIPS) programme in Nasarawa State.
Buhari performed the ceremonies on Tuesday in Lafia, the state capital while on a one-day working visit to inaugurate various projects executed by the Federal and Nasarawa State Governments in various locations across the state.
President Buhari acknowledged the initiative of officials of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and CHIPS agents.
The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole commended the Nasarawa state government for the construction of the PHC, noting that the equipment provided for the facility will go a long way in providing the services needed by residents of the community.
“His Excellency, the governor has done well. I am impressed with the structure and its facilities. For me, it is even far bigger than the name given to it. This is more than a Primary Health Care Centre. It will go a long way in catering for the health needs of those around here,” he said.
Adewole described the CHIPS programme as a laudable initiative aimed at improving and providing equitable coverage for essential health services especially those related to maternal and child survival.
He added that the programme is designed to improve on the Village Health Worker (VHW) concept established by the NPHCDA and endorsed by the federal government.
“The expectation of the CHIPS initiative is that it will produce and provide the human resources but we need the facilities with the people because if we have facilities and the people are not using it, we have not really done anything. We hope that eventually the implementation of the basic health care provision fund will support this, but then we have a strong state support which is very significant,” said the minister.
Dr Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director, NPHCDA, said the CHIPS agents will go from house to house to provide basic healthcare to people but admitted that the infrastructure like the newly built PHC is equally important to provide health services.
“We look forward to running out the CHIPS programme in all of Nigeria. We are set to roll out about 200,000 CHIPS agents. That will make them the largest aggregation of community health workers in Nigeria. So thank you very much Mr President,” Shuaib said.
He added that CHIPS agents will be carefully selected through community level structures based on a set of criteria aimed at ensuring that they live in, and are active members of the social and economic lives of their communities.