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Review of Tinubu’s impact on NPHCDA

by Haruna Gimba
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By Abujah Racheal

As President Bola Tinubu marks his first year in office, the transformation of the National Primary Healthcare Development Authority (NPHCDA) stands as testament to his administration’s commitment to a healthier, more resilient Nigeria.

Under the “Renewed Hope Agenda,” the past year has seen a cascade of reforms aimed at revitalising primary healthcare and making quality medical services accessible to Nigerians, regardless of their location.

Before now, Nigeria’s healthcare system faced myriad of challenges, including inadequate infrastructure, shortage of healthcare workers, and unequal access to essential services.

The renewed hope agenda was born out of recognition of these challenges and commitment to address them comprehensively.

The cornerstone of Tinubu’s healthcare initiatives lies in the ambitious plan to overhaul Nigeria’s Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs).

With the aim to revive 8,300 existing PHCs and expand the network to 17,000 in three years, significant progress has already been made in upgrading facilities, providing essential equipment, and enhancing service delivery.

Dr Fatima Yusuf, a medical officer at a revitalised PHC in Kano State, said that before the renovation, the facility lacked basic amenities and struggled to meet the needs of patients.

“Thanks to the government’s investment, we now have a fully equipped facility capable of providing comprehensive care to our patients,” she said.

Recognising the critical role of healthcare workers in delivering quality care, Tinubu’s administration doubled the enrolment quota for medical, nursing, and other health professional schools.

The initiative is to address the shortage of healthcare workers and bridge the gap between urban and rural healthcare.

Dr Stephen Ekele, a newly enrolled medical student, expressed gratitude for the increased opportunities, saying “as a prospective doctor, I am excited to serve my country and contribute to improving healthcare access for all Nigerians.

“The government’s commitment to expanding enrolment gives us hope for the future.”

Substantial financial commitments have been made to support PHC upgrades through IDA financing and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).

Measures to ensure transparency and accountability in fund utilisation include public disbursement practices, hotlines for reporting misuse, and oversight by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Mr Tapac Patrick, a community health worker, emphasised the importance of transparent fund management.

According to him, knowing that resources are being effectively utilised gives confidence in government’s commitment to improve healthcare.

“We can see the tangible impact of these investments in our communities,” he said.

The Tinubu administration also launched numerous vaccination programmes aimed at preventing disease outbreaks and protecting public health.

In addition to existing programmes, efforts have been intensified to reach underserved populations and address vaccine hesitancy.

Dr Aisha Abubakar Umar, an analyst with the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), shared her experience that led to vaccination campaigns in remote areas.

Umar said that in spite of logistic challenges, significant progress has been made in reaching children who were previously not vaccinated.

She said that through community engagements and awareness campaigns, CHAI

has been able to overcome barriers and ensure vaccine uptake.

To stem the tide of skilled medical professionals leaving Nigeria for better opportunities abroad, the administration implemented measures to improve working conditions and offer competitive salaries.

Partnerships with international organisations are also being explored to address brain drain and retain talent in the country.

Dr Nuhu Aliyu, a Physician, who stressed the need for government to woo medical professionals to stay back in the country, added that “recent improvements in working conditions and prospects for career advancement made us to reconsider.

“There is renewed sense of optimism among healthcare professionals.”

The COVID-19 pandemic presented unprecedented challenges to Nigeria’s healthcare system, but government responded swiftly with measures to protect public health and ensure continuity of essential services.

From establishing isolation centres to ramping up testing and vaccination efforts, proactive steps were taken to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

Dr Ngozi Eze, a public health expert, commended government’s response, stressing that “in spite of immense challenges posed by the pandemic, Nigeria has shown resilience in healthcare response.

“By leveraging existing infrastructure and mobilising resources, we have been able to effectively manage the crisis and protect public health.”

As Nigeria looks to the future, the focus on primary healthcare remains unwavering, as the Tinubu administration builds on progress made and addressing remaining challenges to ensure Nigerians have access to quality healthcare.

By investing in PHCs, Nigeria can advance toward achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and improving overall health and well-being of citizens.

Dr Muyi Aina, the Executive Director of NPHCDA, while reflecting on progress achieved, said that the past year had been transformative for the agency.

He said “we have seen remarkable increase in our capacity to deliver essential health services, thanks to significant investments in infrastructure and workforce development.

“The revitalisation of PHCs and strategic increase in healthcare workers’ enrollment are game-changers for Nigeria’s healthcare system.”

According to Aina, the efforts are not just about meeting immediate needs but also about building sustainable health system that can serve future generations.

“The commitment of the federal and state governments, alongside support from international partners, has been instrumental in achieving these milestones,” he said. (NANFeatures)

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