By Asma’u Ahmad
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on Monday inaugurated the N28 billion Special Health Intervention Projects that would strengthen the health system and enhance service delivery.
While inaugurating the projects in Abuja, the minister said the special intervention projects would be rolled out in 2018. The minister said the interventions would include Tertiary Health Institution Project and the revitalisation of 774 primary healthcare centres in each of the 774 Local Governments Areas of the country.
Prof Adewole added that the project would also include the purchase of additional anti-retroviral drugs for 20,000 Nigerians living with HIV and AIDS. According to him, it will also include the conduct of a nationwide screening of common cancers such as cervix, breast and prostate.
He said that the scheme would carry out free surgeries for 10,000 persons suffering from cataract adding that at least 250 cataract surgeries would be performed in each state. The minister said the project would also cover free treatment for 800 patients with confirmed diagnosis of hepatitis C infection.
“The tertiary hospitals are designed as facilities at the peak of the healthcare system where most complicated medical conditions are handled. Unfortunately these facilities are today faced with numerous challenges including inadequate equipment for tertiary care services. “Other challenges are under-funding arising from budgetary and fiscal constraints and dilapidated infrastructure amongst others,’’ he said.
He noted that in spite of government’s special interventions and annual budgetary appropriations, the delivery of healthcare services face critical operational challenges. He added that the infrastructure challenges negatively impact on the healthcare delivery in these institutions.
He said that there was an urgent need to intervene and smoothen up the operation of these health institutions.
The minister said the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has designed the tertiary health institution intervention as a means to address some of these critical challenges as enshrined in the act establishing it. He added that one of the core objectives of NHIS was to ensure the availability of fund to the health sector for improved services.
Adewole said 21 Federal Teaching Hospitals, 31 Medical Centres and 4 Specialist Hospitals and 14 Fistula and Cleft lip and palate centres across the six geo-political zones would benefit from the intervention.