The National Primary Health Care Development Agency, (NPHCDA) has solicited the procurement of the right infrastructures and more human resources to strengthen Primary Health Care(PHC) centres in Nigeria.
The Executive Director of the NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib in an interview at the end of the COVID-19 performance review meeting disclosed that the Agency need more human resources, the right infrastructure, the right equipment, commodities, utilities and primary healthcare centres, that it is better to lay a very solid foundation for Nigerians health care system and that foundation is primary health care, instead of spending huge amounts of resources building large primary large tertiary care facilities, fantastic specialities hospitals, where people don’t even go to.
According to Shuaib, “Large proportion of our population of over 70% are in rural areas. And the access that they have to health care it has to be in the primary health care centres.
“If you’re able to manage these conditions at the primary health care centres you see that there is decongestion of the tertiary health services so that doctors, especially in the tertiary health centres, will be focusing on more complex disease conditions, not a situation where you find people lining up in the outpatient department of tertiary hospitals trying to treat just diarrhoea or malaria”.
Speaking further, he said if people are in a tertiary hospital and they have malaria, it has to be due to complicated malaria, not uncomplicated malaria.
“This government has made a lot of progress in terms of primary health care compared to the previous government. But we also know that we’re not where we need to be”.
“In the next few months, we’ll continue to encourage leaders such as the Governor of Nasarawa state and governors of some of the states I have mentioned, to continue to provide the leadership that is required to bring our communities together, irrespective of our political leanings and ideologies”.
“The one thing that is common is that we need to improve the health of our people, and primary health care is the place to start”. He stated.
On COVID-19, Shuaib maintained that the agency has been able to achieve fantastic coverage in COVID-19 vaccination especially given the fact that the Agency have inadequate numbers of human resources.
“But we have seen frontline health workers, cross rivers, climb mountains just to get vaccines to Nigerians”.
“There’s a lot that needs to be done, but with constant push with a clear focus on the goal I believe that we will achieve improvement in primary health care”.
We’ve seen this in Jigawa State, Kwara, Kaduna, and Borno state. We’ve seen it in a number of states, where the governors are mobilizing traditional leaders, mobilizing religious leaders and giving the correct information about immunization, not just COVID-19 vaccination, but also routine immunization”.
“This is why despite the pandemic, we’ve seen that Nigeria is only one of four countries globally, where routine immunization actually improved despite setbacks due to the pandemic”.
“We have our challenges in the primary health care space, but it is very clear that we’re on the right path towards achieving our goals.
He said: “We try to set a policy that if anybody is coming with a commitment, to drive development in the state, the thing is sustainable and sustainable in form of funding”.
“You know, you have the resources available. That’s why we don’t get into so many things that we don’t have the funding for.
“If you look at most of our policies, there are policies that whoever is coming in, if they mean well for the state, they should be able to follow and sustain”.
The Governor also disclosed that Nasarawa State does not have enough human resources in the healthcare sector yet, and therefore, the state gives automatic employment, to all the qualified nurses that are graduating from the state nursing schools.
“Nasarawa state still requires a lot of other competent people in the medical line and if you look at it, we just established the medical school at the Federal University in Lafia”.
“We’re just establishing our own teaching hospital for the first time Nasarawa is one of the states that don’t have a teaching hospital”.
ALSO READ FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE