Borno State has emerged as the top-performing state in Nigeria’s Leadership Challenge for Primary Healthcare delivery.
The program aims to strengthen the Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR) policy by encouraging state governors to increase funding for primary healthcare.
Borno State on Wednesday night at the Presidential Villa during the induction programme for governors-elect organised by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), received a total of $1.2 million, with $700,000 for being the best performing state overall and an additional $500,000 for being the winner in the North-East zone.
The Leadership Challenge recognised winners in various zones across the country. Kwara State won in the North-Central zone, Jigawa in the North-West, Ebonyi in the South-East, Rivers in the South-South, and Ondo in the South-West.
Each zonal winner received $500,000. The first runner-up in each zone received $400,000, with Abia State being the first runner-up in the South-east zone.
The Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria, Cristian Munduate, expressed that the award was in recognition of the exceptional leadership shown by the governors in investing significantly in Primary Health Care, thereby positively transforming the lives of women, girls, and children in their respective states.
The awards, valued not only for their monetary aspect but also for the prestige they carry, highlight the commitment and positive impact of the recognised governors and their administrations.
Munduate reflected on the origins of the Leadership Challenge, which stemmed from a historical gathering in November 2019 where Nigerian governors were hosted in Seattle by Bill Gates and Aliko Dangote.
“The primary goal was to enhance governors’ commitment to human capital development and primary healthcare, promote accountability, mobilize state resources, and innovate for gender-specific health outcomes.
“The award funds will be used by the winning states to strengthen their ongoing efforts and initiatives in primary healthcare.
“The recognised governors are not only commended publicly but also personally acknowledged by distinguished individuals such as the Vice President, the Ministry of Health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Aliko Dangote Foundation,” he said .
UNICEF’s country representative emphasised the shared vision of providing high-quality primary healthcare services that are accessible and affordable for all women, girls, and children in Nigeria.
The Leadership Challenge aims to improve leadership oversight, management, and delivery of essential health services at the sub-national level, ultimately leading to improved overall health outcomes.
Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum speaking on behalf of the winners, expressed gratitude to the challenge partners, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Dangote Foundation, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, and UNICEF.
He assured that the funds would be utilised diligently to enhance the primary healthcare system through community participation, inter-sectoral coordination, appropriate technology, and support mechanisms for all services.
Governor Zulum said that the award was not just for the winners but for all, as their collective efforts would promote affordable and efficient healthcare delivery systems throughout Nigeria.
He said “I want to assure you this award is not only for the winners, it is award for all of us so that collectively, we can promote affordable healthcare delivery systems in Nigeria.
“I want to assure you that we shall do everything possible to promote health objectives of establishing healthcare primary health care in Nigeria, which is to bring health care closer to do community.
“We shall do everything possible to ensure that primary health care system is enhanced through effective community participation, through effective inter-sectoral coordination, through effective appropriate technology and indeed, through support mechanisms to all services.
“And therefore, once again, on behalf the awardees I want to convey our deep appreciation to the challenge partners and to assure you all that we will judiciously.
“And meticulously use the funds that were given to us in order to promote affordable, efficient and effective health care delivery systems in our respective states to the glory of God and to the benefit of humanity.”