By Asma’u Ahmad
The National Health Facility Health Survey (NHFS) has indicated a general sub-optimal performance on all major health sector indicators in the country, the Federal Ministry of Health said. Prof. Isaac Adewole, the Minister of Health, disclosed this while unveiling the 2016 NHFS on Tuesday in Abuja.
Professor Adewole said the NHFS was premised on the combination of service delivery indicators, service availability and readiness assessment methodologies with the quality assurance support from the World Bank.
He said the survey was in line with “Saving One Million Lives Programme for Result” (SOML-PforR) conceived by the ministry as a strategy to save the lives of mothers and children.
He added that SOML-PforR is a results-focused partnership with the state ministries of health and is financed by a $500 million International Development Association credit to Nigeria over a period of four years.
The minister said that the survey was the first health facility survey designed to assess primary, secondary and private health facilities in the country. “This exercise was to enable us see ourselves the way we are, and we should not feel bad about letting people know what we are and how we are.
“Because it is the basis of improvement, I consider it as an audit; one should not be scared of an audit exercise. What we want is a basis for improvement and to me this is one,” the minister said.
He therefore appealed to the states commissioners of health to start developing the remedy plans to the challenges highlighted by the survey. According to him, the survey is a powerful advocacy tool for addressing the issues highlighted by the survey at state level.
He added that commissioners now have a document which they can present to their governors and tell them where they are on various health programmes. Prof. Adewole also urged policy makers and programme managers to focus
on the outcome of the report and ensure that their activities address all areas of concern in coordinated manner.
The National Programme Manager of SOML-PforR, Dr Ibrahim Kana, said 3, 330 health facilities were surveyed from 36 states and the FCT. Dr Kana said the NHFS obtained responses to over 4,000 variables and yielded a rich database of findings disaggregated to geopolitical zones, states and health facility types.
He added that the survey recommends in-service training for health workers; decentralised funding to health facilities; reduction of user fees and strengthening the quality of supervision, among others.