By Mary Jalingo
The Executive Director of the Niger State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NSPHCDA), Dr Yahaya Na’uzo, said it was high time citizens begin to create demand for quality and affordable services in the health sector instead of waiting for government to take services to their doorsteps.
Dr Na’uzo made the call during the 2017 state Maternal and Newborn Child Health Week (MNCHW) implementation committee meeting held at the state Ministry of Health conference hall recently.
He said the state MNCHW slated for July 17-21 July was very important as it was an opportunity for most people to get primary healthcare services, especially with the lack of infrastructure and manpower, which he noted has made it very difficult to make services available throughout the year particularly at the community level.
The executive director said efforts need to be made by all stakeholders to fix the system in order to meet the increasing healthcare needs of citizens as MNCHW may not be sustainable because it was very expensive to manage.
He said in some cases, MNCHW was a lifesaving interventions and urged citizens to make adequate use of the week by coming out in mass to access services which he added are for free and targeted at women and children.
Also speaking, the State Nutrition Focal Person, Hajiya Amina Isah, said the state has being doing well in providing interventions during the week adding that for the 2017 round, the state would maintain its services which includes strengthening of Routine immunization, provision of Vitamin A supplement, Deworming of children 1-5 years, screening of children for nutrition access (6- 59 months) and Birth registration for under five.
Other interventions include Iron and folic acid supplements for pregnant women, PMTCT, family planning, LLIN nets for first timers, exclusive breastfeeding, key household practices and hygiene with emphasis on hand washing which she added are all free within the 5days activities.
Hajiya Amina said as part of the preparation, there is going to be a state technical meeting for LGA directors of PHC, M and E officers, nutrition focal persons and key stakeholders.
She commended the state government and partners particularly United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for their prompt release of funds, adding that the state government need to do more especially in term of allocating adequate funds in order to sustain the interventions being provided when partners finally withdraw.