By Justina Auta
Traditional and religious leaders in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have appealed to government at all levels and philanthropists to establish and equip Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in their domains.
The leaders made the call on Wednesday at a stakeholders workshop on funding mechanism organised by the FCT Civil Society in Malaria Control, Immunisation and Nutrition (ACOMIN) in Abuja.
They noted that their appeal, if addressed, would cater for the treatment of AIDs, TB and Malaria (ATM), among other diseases in the country.
Mr Abubakar Bako, the Secretary, Gbazango Traditional Community, Kubwa, FCT, said such meetings would enlighten participants on ways to resolve challenges affecting them.
He said that it would also ensure an improved access to social amenities for community members.
He said: “We have had so many challenges with no healthcare centres in our community, but have to go to the general hospital, which is far from us.
“And we have also lost so many people due to inability to access healthcare services for timely treatment.
“But through such advocacy programmes and sensitisation, we learnt that we can also have our PHCs in our communities.”
The traditional leader stressed the need for community members to ensure participation and monitoring of projects to ensure sustainability.
“My advise to other communitities is to key into such programmes to enable them know and learn more from other communitities that already have existing hospitals and PHCs.
“This will enable them know better and also have theirs. We are therefore appealing to government to provide basic social amenities that would improve our livelihood,” he added.
Also speaking, Mr Julius Ibecheole, ACOMIN FCT Focal person, said the workshop would access the level of engagement, which was part of the processes needed in the submission of the application for the grant cycle seven for Nigeria as it pertains to the CSOs component.
Ibecheole said that the process of soliciting and receiving global grants before now had not been this participatory and involving wide consultations.
He explained that a change in approach by the global fund demands that community stakeholders being their duties, CBOs should make meaningful inputs towards it.
“We will submit so that the global fund itself will see that this process was actually all encompassing in the participation of every key stakeholder.
“And by way of making their own inputs known contribute to the final document that will be sent out.
“Some of those findings, like the need for proper case management, malaria intervention, need for scaling up prevention and environmental management components to be really focused.
“So, going forward in the next round, we want to see more community ownership, while we also do not want to see the government renege in its core obligations,” he said.
Ibecheole also called on government at all levels to ensure that PHCs nationwide were fully equipped to improve healthcare services in the country.
“We know that the National Primary Health Care Agency has very beautiful plans to ensure that the 774 LGAs have PHCs that are well structured, equipped in terms of tools, machines and also manpower.
“We want to see that happen in the coming years and on our part as CSOs, we shall follow up on advocacy,” he said.
Other participants at the workshop were religious and traditional leaders, CSOs and the media. (NAN)