• Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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Revitalising Nigeria’s primary healthcare using a unified approach

Revitalising Nigeria’s primary healthcare using a unified approach

Nigeria’s primary healthcare system (PHCs) has languished for decades, marked by neglect, insufficient infrastructure investment, and a lack of essential drugs and equipment despite serving as the first point of access to healthcare for individuals, families and communities.

The consequence has been the delivery of inefficient and poor-quality healthcare services nationwide. Families, pregnant women, and children in specific regions grapple with the financial burdens imposed by inadequate healthcare services despite government initiatives.

Ineffectual healthcare infrastructure further compounds the issue, with numerous facilities needing essential equipment and pharmaceutical products for quality care.

Federal, state, and local governments bear the responsibility of providing health services, necessitating collaboration with the private sector to address critical interventions directly impacting communities nationwide.

While non-profit organisations and civil society groups have organised medical outreaches over the years, their efforts pale in comparison to the joint initiative led by the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation and the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PSHAN).

Through the Adopt-A-HealthCare-Facility-Programme (ADHFP), these two NGOs are targeting all 774 local governments in the country, aiming to build, renovate, and revitalise healthcare facilities to world-class standards in each of the 774 Local Government Areas.

This ambitious program seeks to enhance access to affordable primary healthcare nationwide significantly.

The ADHFP has already been set into motion in Edo State, with the initial goal of revitalising 18 primary healthcare centres. The program commenced with the signing of a tripartite agreement between the Edo State Government, the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation, and PSHAN.

Notably, substantial financial commitments have been made, with the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation pledging to adopt 23 primary healthcare centres nationwide at N2.3 billion.

This commitment ensures the provision of necessary equipment, medical staff, and drugs, guaranteeing comprehensive healthcare services for communities in the covered areas over the next five years.

Ofovwe Aig-Imoukhuede, executive vice-chair of the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation, highlighted a disconcerting statistic: 85 percent of healthcare centres in Nigeria are primary healthcare centres, but only 20 percent are functional. This stark reality underscores a profound gap in healthcare delivery, particularly at the grassroots level.

Addressing this gap emphasises the critical role of partnerships between state and local governments and the private sector. The private sector, equipped with extensive knowledge in healthcare delivery, can contribute resources, expertise, and innovation to the resuscitation of primary healthcare in the country.

These collaborative efforts seek to identify weaknesses, showcase strengths, and highlight opportunities for improvement in Nigeria’s primary healthcare system. Additionally, such partnerships aim to instill higher accountability and transparency across the healthcare processes.

Regardless of location or socioeconomic status, every Nigerian has a fundamental right to healthcare. In a country marked by income inequalities, there is an urgent need to revitalise the healthcare system, driving health equity for all Nigerians.

This collaborative initiative represents a beacon of hope for Nigeria’s primary healthcare system, demonstrating that a united front can effectively address longstanding challenges.

The commitment of the foundation, Edo State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, and Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria sets a precedent for impactful, sustainable change in the nation’s healthcare landscape.

As the ADHFP gains momentum, it promises to transform the narrative surrounding primary healthcare in Nigeria, ultimately ensuring that quality healthcare becomes accessible to every corner of the nation.