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FG to launch 10 year strategy programme to transform PHCs in Nigeria

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Federal Government says it is set to unveil a 10 year strategy programme that will drastically transform and improve primary health care services in the country.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, The Minister of Health, Dr.

Osagie Ehanire said the programme will be officially launched at the Primary Health Care Summit to be held on March 24 and 25 in Abuja.

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The programme tagged ‘Re-imagining PHC’ is hinged on a 4 point agenda namely; access and service delivery of PHC revitalization; health promotion and demand stimulation; programme delivery; and ensuring the right enablers and capabilities in place to support the delivery.

Dr Ehanire said the aim of the summit is to obtain commitment of government and stakeholders towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals SDGs, Universal Health Coverage (UHCs) and national health security by 2030 and also secure alignment and commitment to the strategy to transform PHCs across the country. adsbygoogle || []).push({});

The 4 point agenda when implemented according to Dr Ehanire, will address about 70% of disease burden in the country.

The Minister also said administering quality healthcare to people in rural areas will assist in reducing pressure on secondary and tertiary levels of care so that they can focus on other health challenges and research.

He said through ‘Re-imagining PHC’, Nigeria will build on its national experience in fighting COVID-19- Ebola, Polio, and many other health challenges to implement long-overdue changes that will transform the way health care is delivered in the country.

“Most citizens in poor and rural areas, with very modest health needs, will not have the resources to pursue healthcare in the big cities. For them, large, fancy, glamorous hospitals in the far-away capital city, is unreachable.

“And that is why we eagerly look forward to our stakeholders from other sectors to join us in making our people healthier by supporting our 70% rural dwellers with modest health centres.

“Studies have shown that a functional PHC System, with strong programs for Health education, disease prevention and health promotion and within easy reach of communities, takes care of 70% of the nation’s disease burden. Taking care of 70% of the health needs increases the nation’s productivity and GDP.

“High disease burden and frequent outbreak are the result of our weak PHC system, which reduces access to healthcare and not only causes our current high out of pocket expenditure on health care of about 70%, but is responsible for needlessly high maternal and child mortality, debility, absenteeism from work and much suffering.

“I know that we all greatly value health care, but for too long, we have instinctively misunderstood healthcare to be synonymous with large, glitzy buildings in the capital city. These well-intentioned hospitals are not on a foundation of a strong health system because the Primary and Secondary level they rest on are very weak.

“We already have a good number of large hospitals like the Teaching Hospitals, Federal Medical Centres and several Private Hospitals in major cities; they do not address the most pressing health needs of majority of the people in rural areas.

” At this state of our development first priority needs to revert to simple Basic Healthcare Provision, which we need stakeholders to align with to Kick-start implementation of our 4-point Agenda for PHC revitalization” he added.

Also Speaking, Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib said the transformative programme is focused on primary health care, because it is the backbone of the country’s entire health system.

The NPHCDA Executive Director noted lack of quality primary health care services in Nigeria contributes to the staggering impact of COVID-19 on the country’s population and the high rate of maternal mortality

.

“128 of every 1,000 children under 5 in Nigeria die and 20% of global maternal deaths happen in Nigeria” he said.

He also said that the Nigerian government would invest in building up the failing primary health care system so that health centres could treat infectious and chronic illnesses.

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