Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Board Decries Absence Of Rehabilitation Services In PHC

By Justina Auta

The Medical Rehabilitation Therapists Registration Board of Nigeria (MRTB) says the absence of rehabilitation services in Primary Healthcare centres (PHCs) will affect the achievements of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) nationwide.

Prof. Rufai Ahmad, Registrar/CEO, MRTB, made this known on Saturday in a communique made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

Ahmad said only 6,100 physiotherapists, 163 occupational therapists, 103 speech therapists and audiologist and 200 prosthetists and orthotists were registered with the board to cater for the over 200million populace.

“Many of these professionals have left the country seeking greener pastures.

“Overwhelming majority of Medical Rehabilitation Professionals are employed in the tertiary hospital centres located in major cities across the States of the Federation.

“Only few states in the federation can be credited with rehabilitation workforce across secondary health care facilities mostly concentrated in state capitals.

“There are no rehabilitation services in primary health centres throughout the country,’’he said.

He, further said that currently, rehabilitation was not included as an essential healthcare service in the implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) at the Primary Health Care Level.

“This has hindered accessibility to rehabilitation services at the primary and community levels of care,’’ he said.

He said that in the BHCPF manual, rehabilitation was stated as part of the healthcare services covered by the funds.

The Registrar also lamented the absence of policy or institutional framework for the coordination and implementation of rehabilitation initiatives and programmes in Nigeria.

He said: “Federal Ministry of Health is the superintending arm of the government of the federation on health.

” Presently, there is no direct presence of rehabilitation services and personnel in the ministry.

“There is also no policy or institutional framework for the coordination and implementation of rehabilitation initiatives and programmes in Nigeria.’’

He said that the board in collaboration with other stakeholders, held a training, practice and regulation meeting in November 2023 and highlighted challenges and strategies on implementing the WHO rehabilitation 2030 agenda in Nigeria.

“Stakeholders observed the lack of a National Policy on rehabilitation

“Resolution, inadequate National Health Insurance Authority package for rehabilitation, equipment were not readily available and expensive where available.

“Also, children with disability have difficulty with integration into schools, funding for rehabilitation was scarce and reliable and valid data on rehabilitation were not readily available,’’ he said.

The Registrar, therefore, appealed for the implementation of the resolutions, which include national policy on rehabilitation, establish and regulate medical rehabilitation programmes in institutions, among others,’’ he said.(NAN)

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