Northern Nigerian Breaking News

CSOs urge FG to seek sustainable funding for primary healthcare centres

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Two Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Connected Development (CODE) and BudgIT have called on the Federal Government to seek sustainable funding for primary healthcare systems in Nigeria.

The CSOs made the call at a meeting to build momentum for health care accountability organized by CODE and BudgIT with a support from Conrad Hilton Foundation and Skoll Foundation on Wednesday in Abuja.

The meeting which was part of the activities on implementing the second phase of the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project(CTAP) was aimed at tracking all funds and donations made in support of the Federal Government COVID-19 intervention.

Assistant Manager, BudgIT, Iyanuoluwa Bolarinwa, who spoke on `Strengthening  Formidable Partnerships for Accountability ‘’the group in the course of their  work observed  that most primary healthcare centres need a face lift .

“These centres are the first point of call to an average Nigerian where they go first to access care before they  can be referred to general hospitals.

“So when you are  going to your first call and it is not well equipped, it does not  put you in an advantageous position, it sets you back further.

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“So we are recommending that the centres should be revamped and we also hope that  the federal government can  put more funds into research and development.

“At the end of the day, we need to also understand that without proper research, we are going to just be imbibing whatever has been concluded in the other climes.

“We need to be able to put our foot down as the giant of Africa that we are.’’

Bolarinwa also called for more investment in the health sector and  the need to implement the Abuja declaration by  committing  15 per cent of the budget to healthcare .

He urged the government to tackle the issue of brain drain  by empowering medical personnel to remain in the country to service citizens.

Also speaking, Mr Hamza Lawal  Founder of Follow the  Money and the Chief  Executive Officer of CODE, said that the COVID-19 pandemic showed that  Nigeria’s  fiscal accountability mechanism was not so strong.

Lawal said that the group began monitoring the N38 billion raised in the  Coalition Against COVID-19(CACOVID) a  private sector-led organisation established to assist the government in combating the Coronavirus disease .

“Today, we are having an important conversation with civil society partners and  the media to galvanise action around COVID-19.

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“However, this time around, we are  more focused around how  Nigeria  and Africa can  prepare for the next pandemic because COVID-19 literally brought us to  our knees.

“We want to ensure that one, we are  able to put in place a framework of fiscal accountability, two ,we are able to also invest in primary health care because we know  the centres play a critical role when we experience a pandemic. ‘’

Lawal added that the aim of the group’s work was to also educate citizens on COVID-19 while  encouraging them to take the vaccines .

This, he said was because a lot of citizens were not taking the jabs  due to the distrust ,misinformation and disinformation .

“I believe that this conversation with the media and  civil society partners would help set a pace on how we can engage, how we can get the needed funding and investment for primary health care centres.

“It will set a pace on  how Nigeria  can lead other African countries to prepare for another pandemic because another pandemic is just around the corner .’’

Contributing, Mr Busayo Morakinyo Community Engagement Director of CODE assessed the Federal  Government ‘s intervention performance on Primary Health  centres(PHC).

“Findings by the Follow the Money initiative in communities indicated that most of  the centres fell below the minimum Primary Health Care standard.

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“Findings also revealed that they lacked electricity, 30 per cent of the PHC have no access to clean water.

“ Interviews with some of the community indigenes shows that they rely on rain water and well water stored in the tanks.

“Fifty six out of 90 PHCs assessed, have the recommended pharmaceutical fridge to host vaccines  while some of the PHCs received less than 10 vials of Covid-19 vaccine.”

Morakinyo  said that  NPHCDA recently outlined plans for the  transformation of PHCs  to provide services aligned with the basic needs of the community, link individuals to PHC services, keep and transmit records.

He  however said that  most of things on ground were observed in the course of the report  were not seen to reflect the plan.

The News Agency of Nigerian (NAN)reports that  Dr Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), had at a different event attested to the fact that poor infrastructure and poor staff was hampering operations of PHC.

Shuaib had therefore said that the Agency had plans to transform the centres.(NAN)

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