• Wednesday, December 06, 2023
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Six in 10 Nigerians lack access to primary health care services – Agency


About six out of ten Nigerians lack access to quality primary healthcare services, a situation that is worsening disease outbreaks and out-of-pocket expenditure, the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) has said.

The agency noted that only 43 percent of Nigerians have access to quality PHC services, and reiterated the need to revamp all PHCs across the country. It also informed that it has developed a ten-year strategy plan to revitalize all PHCs across the country over a 10-year period

The NPHCDA in a statement to mark the 2022 PHC Summit with the theme “Re-imagining Primary Health Care in Nigeria”, said 2.7 trillion is needed to revitalize the PHCs over the next ten years, of which 50 percent is already committed, leaving an investment gap of ₦1.4 trillion.

Speaking at the summit, Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, noted that up to 70 percent of the country’s disease burden can be treated and vital disease prevention and health promotion education can be given, including immunization, routine and mass drug administration for various chronic diseases at PHCs.

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“Indeed, the foundation of any strong health system and for Universal Health Coverage rests on a robust, resilient PHC system. Strengthening PHCs, not only assures better population health, but reduces the workload on secondary and tertiary Healthcare levels and also the catastrophic out-of-pocket patient spending on health.

The minister said progress made on revamping PHCs has been too slow and investment poor, making the journey towards desirable health system and outcomes a long one. “The PHC level has been neglected, with consequent negative impact on human capital development. But we also have opportunities to build back better, with the goodwill and funds that have flowed into the system since then. It is in that light that we wish to rebuild our system by correcting the imbalance among the levels of care, beginning with this PHC summit,” Ehanire said.

Ehnire stressed that Nigeria cannot achieve Universal Health Coverage and Sustainable Development Goal targets, or reduce out-of-pocket costs for healthcare to less than 30 percent without vibrant PHCs.

The minister, therefore, called on state governments to strongly consider supporting the Federal 1 percent of Consolidated Federal Revenue (CFR) to Basic Health Care Provision Fund with equal matching grants for their own States and for Local Government Areas, respectively.

In a presentation, Faisal Shuaib, the executive director and chief executive officer of NPHCDA, said that Nigeria has a four point PHC agenda to implement.

“The four-point agenda is about implementing strategies that work and also thinking about those strategies that will drive more service delivery and revitalisation of our Primary health care sectors in Nigeria. Everybody here today has a part to play in changing the current state of our PHCs. Now is the time for us to talk and deliver solutions that will radically transform the PHCs in Nigeria.” Shuaib said.