By Chijioke Okoronkwo
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of three more orthopedic hospitals across the country.
Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this on Wednesday at the official inauguration of the Primary Health Care(PHC) Leadership Challenge at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.
The event was organised by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) in partnership with development partners.
“The president has approved three more national orthopedic hospitals; one per geo-political zone.
“North-East has one; the North-Central has one and the South-South has one; in Benin, Jos and Jalingo respectively,’’ he said.
On his part, Country Director, Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation, Jeremie Zoungrana, said that the PHC Challenge fund represented a unique opportunity to motivate and publicly recognise ownership and leadership at the subnational level.
He said that the PHC health indicators would be tracked to support the NGF build Governor-level accountability, improve performance management, and enhance investments in critical areas of PHC.
“The challenge fund will also leverage other BMGF investments that focus on improving state level data ownership, analysis, quality, and use,” he said.
The Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, also spoke at the event.
She disclosed that a total sum of N471.9 billioni had so far been disbursed by the Federal government as grant to states under the 1.5 billion dollars World Bank-Assisted States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme.
Ahmed said that it was gratifying to note that beyond benefitting from the grants, all the 36 states in the Federation had fully domesticated the fiscal reforms in their public financial management system.
In his speech, NGF’s Chairman, Gov. Kayode Fayemi, said the event buttressed the commitment as governors to building a resilient Primary Health Care System.
He said that the Primary Health Care(PHC) Leadership Challenge aimed to address the bottlenecks in the system as it strove to build a robust public health care system.
“As part of our enduring partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates and Aliko Dangote Foundations, we convened a roundtable on Nov. 12 and Nov. 13 in Seattle, USA, to reflect on the states’ government development agenda for immunisation, PHC and human capital development.
“This culminated in the Seattle Declaration which restates the commitments of the NGF to strengthen leadership and accountability for the PHC system at the state level.”
According to him, evidence has shown that PHC has the potential to expand attainment of Universal Health Coverage to as much as 80 per cent of the population.
“On our part, then agenda most forum representing the 36 states of the Federation has taken up the challenge we have done In the past with polio eradication and we’re ready to do it again for primary health care system strengthening, especially given our recent experience with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Fayemi thanked the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation, UNICEF, the Nigerian National Primary Health Care Development Agency, and the NGF Secretariat for putting together the challenge.
In the statement of declaration, Fayemi said that following the induction to the Seattle Declaration by 36 governors of Nigeria in November 2019, the NGF affirmed its commitment to strengthen the primary health care system in the country.
“We therefore adopt and confirm our commitment in line with the Seattle Declaration as outlined below.
“Improving the governance of the primary healthcare system as a sub national level by fully implementing the primary health care under one roof policy, and providing active leadership for primary health care through regular engagement with relevant PHC stakeholders, and quarterly PHC performance review at the State Executive Council meetings
“To promote progressive increase in primary health care funding by ensuring efficient budgeting that is aligned to annual operational plans, promptly releasing approved budget to the state primary health care board, and primary health care facilities and ensuring that there is a mechanism in place for basic health care provision, fund implementation and oversight at the state and facility levels.
“Recruit requisite health workforce to ensure that all primary health care facilities have the minimum staffing requirements appropriate for their level in line with the state’s minimum service package.
“Institute a culture of use of evidence for decision making, by ensuring that the data quality across all primary health care facilities is progressively improved.
“Develop a state led and state on local government area levels, PHC Leadership Challenge for local government area chairmen, for sustainability and strengthening the commitment of the local government area chairmen to primary health,” he said.(NAN)