Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working to improve access to quality healthcare services in Kaduna State have identified poor budgetary allocation and cash backing as undermining the renovation of 255 Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in the state.
The CSOs stated this in Kaduna at a two-day International Conference on: “Contemporary Issues in Social Sciences Research,” organised by the Faculty of Social Sciences, Kaduna State University (KASU).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the CSOs are working under the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health at Scale (PACFaH@Scale) and Open Government Partnership (OGP).
The Project Director, IIGES-PACFaH@Scale and Co-Chair, OGP, Kaduna State, Malam Mustapha Jumare, spoke on behalf of the CSOs, while presenting findings on the ongoing renovation of the 255 PHCs in the state.
Jumare recalled that the Gov. Nasir El-Rufa’i administration had in 2015 promised to renovate 255 PHCs as part of efforts to ensure one functional PHC in the 255 political wards of the state.
He disclosed that 65 per cent of the 255 PHCs renovated and upgraded have not been functional, adding that the remaining 35 per cent are still dilapidated.
According to him, the development is largely due to poor releases and cash backing of budget allocation, which remained a serious setback in proving quality healthcare services to the people.
“For example, N2.46 billion was allocated for the renovation, upgrading and construction of PHCs and N15.98 million for furnishing of three Zonal Cold Stores at Zaria, Kaduna and Kafanchan in the 2019 budget.
“However, the government has not released any amount from January to date. Similarly, a total of N4.9 billion was allocated for the state’s Primary Healthcare Board, but only N16.75 million, representing 8.0 per cent was released for recurrent expenditure.
“This is grossly inadequate. The state government should not only improve funding to the sector, but also ensure timely release and cash backing of allocated funds,” he said.
Jumare also called on the state government to prioritise the full implementation of the primary healthcare under one roof as the surest way to the attainment of universal health coverage in the state.
A lecturer with the Department of Sociology at the Kaduna State University (KASU), Dr James Akpokos, noted that adequate funding of the health sector would improve the health outcomes of the population and impact positively on productivity.
Similarly, a Professor of Community Medicine at the KASU, Prof. Nambam Omole, who described research as a back bone of national development, urged academics to provide solutions to challenges facing the health sector.
Responding, Dr Iliyasu Neyu, the Director, PHC, in the state’s Primary Healthcare Development Agency, said the State Government was doing its best to provide the needed funds to boost service delivery in the sector.
Neyu noted that no nation developed without healthy citizens, assuring that the government will fulfil its promise of improving access to quality healthcare services through improved funding.
Earlier, Dr Aminu Yusuf, the Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, announced that the faculty had entered into partnership with PACFaH@Scale in the area of research to improve the wellbeing of the people.
Yusuf stressed the need for universities to work with the organised private sector in the area of research to effectively respond to the needs of humanity.