Kwara State governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, on Thursday, made case for improved funding of primary healthcare.
The governor also advocated the easing of legal logjams militating against effective running of primary healthcare across the country.
Speaking at the opening session of a one-day meeting on improving primary healthcare delivery attended by Commissioners of Health and Executive Secretaries of the Primary Healthcare Development Agencies (PHCDAs) from 22 states governed by All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor AbdulRazaq said more attention ought to go into primary healthcare because of its significance for the society.
“At the moment primary healthcare caters for less than 20% of potential patients in Nigeria. This explains why enough resources and multi-stakeholders’ collaboration must go into this key area to change the narrative,” he observed.
“I acknowledge and commend the policy of primary healthcare under one roof. But the success of this policy depends on how much political will and resources we are ready to muster. We will also need to clear some constitutional impediments standing on its way. I expect that experts and sector players at this event will give a breakdown of these challenges and offer sustainable solutions,” he stated.
The governor, who said his administration inherited a poorly funded PHCDA and collapsed infrastructure in the state, said Kwara has since turned the page through constant payment of counterpart funds and implementation of other strategies to improve access to quality basic healthcare.
He added: “For the first time since the establishment of primary healthcare agency in the state, we have recruited and deployed 42 new health workers. A process to recruit additional 155 is underway. We have renovated and equipped 27 PHCs across the state.
“We have conducted refresher trainings for hundreds of healthcare workers this year alone on life saving skills, patient care management, basic emergency obstetric care etc. I have also approved the engagement of 200 Community Health Influencers Promoters Scheme (CHIPS) agents to strengthen basic healthcare delivery at the grassroots.”
Also speaking, the director-general of Progressives Governors Forum, Salihu Lukman, said the meeting was part of the plan of the APC-controlled states to produce a policy framework on primary healthcare development agency with a view to ensuring uniformity in addressing issues of maternal health and nutrition in their states.
World Health Organisation (WHO) country representative, Dr Walter Mulombo, said Nigeria has been making commendable efforts to deepen public access to primary healthcare over the past few years, adding that such efforts had resulted in the primary healthcare under one roof policy and the basic healthcare provision fund.