By Iliya Kure
Kaduna (Nigeria) – A Civil Society Organisation, Initiative for Social Sector Advocacy (ISSA), has commended Governor Nasir El-Rufai for steps taken to actualise the Primary Healthcare Under One Roof (PHCUOR) in Kaduna State, northwest Nigeria.
Chairman of the Group, Shehu Muhammad Makarfi told Africa Prime News, the steps taken by the Governor is a clear indication that he is out to address bottlenecks hampering the delivery of quality healthcare to citizens of the state, especially at the grass root.
“It is heartwarming to hear that his first bill is for the full implementation of the PHC Under One Roof.” He said
In a broadcast to the people of the state last week, Governor El-Rufai promised to implement the PHCUOR, a move aimed at strengthening the administration of primary healthcare centres in the northern Nigerian state. This entails bringing the components of the PHCs under one management, as opposed to the current structure, where various components of the PHCs are domiciled in three government organs – Ministry for Health, Ministry for Local Government, as well as the Local Government Service Commission.
In the broadcast, El-Rufai said, “we have therefore sent this framework as our first Executive Bill to the State House of Assembly.
“This focus includes a project to fully equip at least one primary health care centre in each of the 255 wards in the state, and at least one General Hospital in each of the three Senatorial Districts.
“In addition to providing better facilities, we would be recruiting more Doctors, Nurses, Midwives and Technologists for our improved hospitals.” The Governor said.
Makarfi said, “this single act will go a long way in addressing the basic health needs of people in our communities.”
He said ISSA is working with other partners in the state to advocate for improved services in Maternal health, calling on the state government to introduce a budget line for child spacing services and commodities at the state ministry of health.
Makarfi also called on the Governor to intervene at the local government level, where such budget line has been created, but funds allocated are not released.
Speaking in the same vein, Chairperson of Maternal and Child Health – Civil Society Partnership, Dorcas Adeyemi expressed optimism that the current effort would scale-up Free Maternal and Child Health from the current 115 Primary Healthcare facilities to every ward.
“Implementing the PHC under one roof will improve service delivery; it is easier when one agency is allowed to be in total control in terms of allocation of resources, implementation and monitoring. As it is now, there are multiple lines of authority, leading to waste and multiplicity of efforts,” she said.
She commended the Governor for partnering a reputable organisation, General Electric Healthcare, in an effort to improve the standard of health centres in the state.
The civil society partnership, which she said has conducted several surveys on maternal health in the state, would continue to partner the government in its effort of improving the health of mothers and children.
By design, the PHCUOR Agency will be jointly owned by states and their local government councils and will be funded through a mechanism where 40 per cent will come from the state government and 60 per cent from the Local Government.
The Agency will oversee the implementation of the framework to ensure that Primary Health Care Centres are appropriately sited, functional, and that the required human resource is available.
According to the country’s National Health Act, any state that establishes such an agency would enjoy one per cent of the consolidated revenue and be in a better position to access loans and support from international agencies, including the World Health Organisation, USAID, DFID, World Bank, European Union and UNICEF.