By Asmau Ahmad
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has appealed to the three tiers of government to sustain efforts at revitalising primary health care (PHC) system in the country.
Dr Benjamin Olowojebutu, the Chairman, NMA Lagos Zone, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Lagos.
Olowojebutu said that although progress had been made, gaps in health coverage persist for those in the lowest income levels, marginalised population and those in hard-to-reach areas.
He said that for quality of lives to improve, the PHC system must move to incorporate people’s needs and preferences into their service delivery, especially in communities.
“What has happened in Nigeria in the last few years is that we have changed the focus of healthcare to specialised care, left the PHCs to disrupt operations at tertiary hospitals.
“We must domesticate PHCs as a vital tool in community participation and also have a robust referral system that ensures PHCs does their own job, the secondary and tertiary hospitals do theirs too.
“We know that as a nation, if the health indices decline, productivity, quality of lives and life expectancy would be impacted negatively,” he said.
Olowojebutu also said that ensuring access to primary health care would spur fast attainment of universal health coverage.
According to him, adequate financing of the centres will ensure quality service delivery, since the current PHC system does not adequately meet the needs of the vast population.
He advised citizens to intensify engagement with prospective leaders on plans and policies that would enhance the health sector as electioneering continues nationwide.