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Nigeria Primary healthcare sector to be save says REP

THE House of Representatives has said
the collapse of primary health care (PHC) in the country is imminent
unless drastic and immediate steps are taken. The lawmakers opined that
the declaration of a state of emergency in the Primary Healthcare (PHC)
sector in the country remains the most effective option towards the
repositioning of PHC for effective and efficient service delivery to the
people at the grassroots. It is however instructive to know that the
lawmakers were not alone on this as the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac
Adewole, also declared that to reposition healthcare service delivery in
the country, the government, in partnership with individuals, corporate
and private organisations must restructure  primary healthcare at the
grassroots. To put plans to action, the House organised a two-day public
hearing on financing healthcare and revitalisation of primary
healthcare system in Nigeria last week for an inclusive discourse on the
issue.
The Speaker, Yakubu Dogara set the tone
when he stressed the importance of the National Assembly providing
workable solutions to healthcare funding. Dogara, who was represented by
the House Monority Leader, Leo Ogor, however admonished lawmakers to
ensure transparency in use of funds allocated to the health sector as it
is crucial to taking health services to the most vulnerable in society.
In his remarks, Chairman, House
Committee on Health Services, Chike Okafor (APC, Imo), regretted that
the  state of primary health care at the grassroots was disheartening
while he emphasised the need for the implementation of the Abuja
Declaration by African Heads of State to allocate a minimum of 15
percent of the national budget to health. According to him, Nigeria must
reduce its high infant and mortality rate, its disease burden and widen
access to health services, by re – investing heavily in the provision
of primary healthcare.
On way forward, Okafor noted that it is
imperative that current bottlenecks hindering the provision of efficient
PHC system in the country are identified and removed in a holistic,
inclusive and strategic manner.
On his part, the Minister of Health,
Prof. Adewole regretted that huge pressure is on secondary and tertiary
health institutions in the country due to defective or near non-existent
PHC system at the grassroots. He however said the federal government is
taking steps to address the decay by setting up a committee chaired by
the Minister of Finance to look into the reactivation of PHC centers at
the 9,572 political wards around the country.
He used the occasion to debunk reports
of missing $400m Polio Eradication Fund, saying no polio money is
missing.  the minister appealed that the National Health Insurance
Scheme (NHIS) be revitalized  by looking at demand and supply sides.
Other stakeholders, including the wife
of the President of the Senate, Toyin Ojora-Saraki, Founder, Wellbeing
Foundation Africa, said affordable healthcare services at the grassroots
at the right time and right place is not negotiable. She said goverment
and stakeholders must invest heavily in PHC since 80 percent of the
Nigerian population is at the grassroots.
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