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 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 compliments 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 the centres.
“Yet primary healthcare workers are doing the best they can in very difficult circumstances.
“So collaborations such as this will not only provide Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) with an opportunity to have access to data and to the realities that 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 PHC because for so long it had been neglected due to funding .
“We want to transform PHC by ensuring that we look at it holistically so that its available human resources are not focusing on just one disease or another .
“It will positioned for prevention, promotion and protection of citizens not just cure, and we hope that in post COVID, 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, the vulnerable among others.
He said that the MoU would create an opportunity to openly demonstrate the centre’s transparency.
“We welcome this collaboration because it is also an opportunity to hear from people we serve. It is an opportunity to get feedback on the services that will deliver,” he said
Responding, Mr Hamzat Lawal, Chief Executive of CODE said that the MoU was a vital step towards tracking and evaluation of PHC across the country.
Lawal said that this was to inform its advocacy in canvassing for improved primary healthcare infrastructure and service delivery.
“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 substandard 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 public sector, private, multilateral and bilateral donors committed to COVID-19 pandemic, with the aim of establishing sustainable accountability in the health sector. “
Lawal said that NPHCDA, coming in agreement with CODE, guaranteed a path towards uncovering gaps in the healthcare system and introducing best practices to Nigeria’s health sector.
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 with the aim of identifying solutions that will improve service delivery and enhance the healthcare system in Nigeria and all across Africa.” (NAN)