By Asma’u Ahmad
The House of Representatives has called for improved funding for Primary Health Care (PHC) to strengthen healthcare delivery in the country.
The Deputy Chairmanof the house committee on health, Muhammad Usman, made the appeal during a stakeholders’ validation meeting for a motion tracker aimed at strengthening the fulfillment of government’s commitment on Family Planning (FP) 2020 and Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) global strategy in Abuja.
The meeting, which was organised by Community Health and Research Initiative (CHR), an NGO, was part of activities to commemorate the 2018 Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day, observed on Dec. 12.
He expressed disappointment over lack of adequate personnel and equipment noted at various PHCs across the country.
The deputy chairman said the committee had recently conducted a tour of health facilities across the country and observed that some PHCs had just two healthcare personnel who attend to thousands of people with different health challenges.
While speaking on the revitalisation of 10,000 PHCs, promised by the Federal Government, Usman said about 4,000 out of the 10,000 PHCs had been revitalized.
Newsmen recall that the Federal Government kicked off a scheme to revitalise over 10,000 PHCs across the country in January 2017.
Usman, however, regretted that government’s support to health financing was gradually declining.
“Nigeria is not doing well on health financing when compared to other African countries; if we must meet our commitment to FP 2020 and other services we must increase the health budget,’’ he said.
Earlier, Dr Aminu Magashi, the Project Advisor, Community Health and Research Initiative, said the meeting was to strengthen the tracking of commitments and pledges made by governments.
He added that the pledges and commitments, including FP2020 commitments in support of Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) have usually been made at international events by the government, CSOs and the private sector.
On his part, Dr Mustapha Jibrin, Niger State Commissioner of Health, who is also a member of the National Steering Committee of Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), said the Fund would support the EWEC initiative.
He added that the 2018 budget has captured the fund under the servicewide vote and government had concluded plan to inaugurate BHCPF on Dec. 17 and 18.
“The Minister of Finance said 25 per cent of fund will be released in December for six pilot states; one state in each geo-political zone and the Federal Capital Territory.
“By the end of February 2019, the remaining 75 per cent of the fund will be available for distribution to the remaining states to improve access to quality and affordable healthcare services,’’ he said.
Newsmen also report that the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day is commemorated on every Dec. 12.
The day is the anniversary of the first unanimous United Nations resolution calling on countries to provide affordable, quality healthcare to every person, everywhere.