The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has identified poor infrastructure and poor staff as obstacles hampering operations of primary healthcare centres (PHC) across the country.
The executive director of the agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, made this known while signing a memorandum of understanding with Connected Development (CODE) under the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP).
“More than 70 per cent of the primary health care centres across Nigeria do not have the full strength of health workers required.
“More than 70 per cent of the primary healthcare centres in Nigeria still do not have the right infrastructure, the right equipment, drugs and the right utilities to run them.
“Yet, primary healthcare workers are doing the best they can in very difficult circumstances.
“Collaborations such as this will not only give civil society organisations (CSOs) access to data but present the realities people face in primary healthcare centres.
“It is also an opportunity for them to advocate for more resources at the state and local government levels to strengthen primary healthcare,” he said.
Shuaib said that the centre was working to transform PHCs, seeing as they have been neglected due to a dearth of funding.
“We want to transform PHC by ensuring that we look at it holistically so that it does not focus on focus on particular diseases.
“It will be positioned for prevention, promotion and protection of citizens; not just cure. We hope that in the post-COVID [era], the PHC will be strengthened especially through collaborations with CSOs and other stakeholders.”
Shuaib commended CODE for taking steps towards promoting transparency and accountability in the healthcare sector.
He said that such partnership with CODE was a giant step towards transparency and openness in the NPHCDA and an opportunity to reach the unreached in rural areas.
“We welcome this collaboration because it is also an opportunity to hear from people we serve and get feedback about the services that [we] will deliver,” he said
Responding, chief executive of CODE, Mr. Hamzat Lawal, said that the MoU is a vital step towards tracking and evaluating of PHC across the country.
“In July 2021, using the FollowTheMoney social accountability tool, CODE tracked 90 primary healthcare centres (PHCs) in 15 states across the country.
“It was discovered that 80 per cent of PHCs are sub-standard and unfit to store and effectively administer COVID-19 vaccines; a situation that has hindered access and equitable distribution of vaccines to Nigeria’s large population.
“CODE, through the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP), is committed to tracking all resources from the public sector, private, multilateral and bilateral donors committed to COVID-19 pandemic, to establish sustainable accountability in the health sector.”
Lawal said the NPHCDA, in agreement with CODE, guaranteed a path towards uncovering gaps in the healthcare system and introducing best practices to Nigeria’s health sector, report from the News Agency of Nigeria said.
This, he said was the first step towards achieving a better healthcare system in Africa, especially by identifying and proffering solutions to the gaps that currently exist in the system.
“A large number of Nigerians, especially those living in remote communities, rely on PHCs for their health concerns.
“There exists a myriad of challenges within the PHC system which we are working to uncover to identify solutions that will improve service delivery and enhance the healthcare system in Nigeria and all across Africa.” (NAN)