Six years after the immediate past president, Muhammadu Buhari, launched a project to revitalize over 10,000 basic Healthcare Centers (PHCs) across Nigeria, LEADERSHIP investigations have revealed that just about 25% of basic health care facilities are operational.

The federal government vowed on January 10, 2017, under the Buhari administration, to repair 10,000 primary health care facilities across the country’s 774 local government areas.

Buhari stated that $1.5 million was allocated to each state government and the Federal Capital Territory through the Saving One Million Lives Initiative to ensure the delivery of quality health care to women and children.

Buhari also formally published the rules for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) and established the National Health Act (NHAct) steering group.

According to the findings of this research, the federal government will transfer N101 billion from the BHCPF to 7,600 PHC institutions in November 2022.

Despite this, around 80% of the facilities are still inoperable, according to the Nigeria Health Sector: Market Study Report, commissioned by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Nigeria and prepared by PharmAccess Foundation’s Nigeria Office (PAF).

It is expected that just 20% of this number is operational.

“Most PHCs lack the capacity to provide essential healthcare services, in addition to challenges such as inadequate staffing, inadequate equipment, poor infrastructure condition, and a lack of essential drug supply,” the research added.

In the same vein, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that only a quarter of PHCs in Nigeria have more than 25 percent of the minimum required equipment package, adding that “the capacity to provide basic emergency obstetrics services is limited to about 20 percent of the PHC facilities.

“Due to the foregoing, N1.95 trillion ($5.4billion), representing 84 per cent of primary health care expenditures, was spent in non-PHC facilities (i.e., secondary and tertiary care in 2017).”

Critical stakeholders have said for Nigeria to improve its poor health indices, there is need to prioritise and improve the PHC facilities in the country.

They averred that primary healthcare was established essentially to bring health closer to the people in the community, and through their full participation.

“Primary healthcare is meant to provide services to the majority of people based on need, without geographical, social or financial barriers,” they further noted.

Board member, Lagos State Health Management Agency, Barrister Ayo Adebusoye, told LEADERSHIP that Nigeria needs to get out from the centralized system of government, adding that this system of government has not worked for the country.

“How can the federal government be concerned about primary healthcare activities? The states alongside the local government authorities should bear that brunt because they are closer to the people. They know what is going on at the grassroots level and as such, they can act accordingly,” Adebusoye stated.

As Nigerians await the new minister of Health, Adebusoye however urged the incoming minister to work with the state government to strengthen the PHCs.

In the same vein, president of Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, Dr Emeka Orji, told LEADERSHIP that for Nigeria to have a well functioning PHCs, all levels of government should get involved, adding that it should not solely be a federal government affair.

“Government, as a matter of urgency, should put more funds into the PHC system. Most doctors do not want to go to the rural areas to work. Government must try to motivate them through proper remuneration and good working conditions,” Orji stated.

Similarly, the director general/chief executive of NNMDA, Prof. Martins Emeje told LEADERSHIP: “In November, 2022, the federal government has disbursed N101 billion to 7,600 PHC facilities from the BHCPF, yet, nothing to show for it. If the federal government had released that fund to the Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA), it would have gone a long way to improving the healthcare system in Nigeria.”

Emeje revealed that NNMDA was established in 1997 to enable the federal government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Science & Technology (FMST), actualise its critical and strategic mandate to research, develop, document, preserve, conserve and promote Nigeria’s Natural Medicine (Traditional/indigenous Healthcare systems, medications and non-medications healing arts, science & Technology), as well as assist in facilitating their integration into the National Healthcare Delivery System and contribute to the nation’s wealth and job creation, socio-economic growth and development effort.

“Indigenous or local production of drugs is what Nigeria needs right now. Our ancestors relied on local drugs for treatment and they died at a very good old age. We cannot continue to rely on foreign drugs, considering the foreign exchange rate, which has led to high cost of drugs. I appeal to the Tinubu-led government to look inwards by prioritizing indigenous healthcare systems,” he stated.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *