A nation’s health is as strong as its primary health care delivery system, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has said.
He stated this Thursday while declaring open the ‘PHC Summit 2022,’ held at the International Conference Center, Abuja.
The summit was tagged ‘Re-imagining Primary Health Care,’ and organised by the Federal Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), with the aim of making sure that all Nigerians have access to health care within range of 5 kilometers to their places of abode.
Osinbajo commended the organisers of the summit and pointed out that the COVID -19 pandemic was an eye opener as it crippled the world economy and developed countries were unprepared to handle the emergency, while Nigeria was commended by reputable organisations in the world for coping effectively.
The vice president said: “The pandemic has thought us that you cannot rely on any other country in time of emergency. This has occupied the thought of leaders. Despite the infrastructural deficiency, our response to the pandemic was one of the best in the world. As the NPHCDA executive director pointed out, we still attained 56 per cent immunisation during the pandemic.
“Your health system is as strong as your primary health delivery system. Any investment in health system is wise investment.”
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie O. Ehanire said the federal government is investing more and more on primary health care to ensure that clinics are brought to the doorstep of citizens.
He sought support of donors to ensure there are health personnel in rural areas and ensure that Nigeria can build on the gains of the past.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, stated that her ministry had always ‘released fund for the health sector’ adding that fund was diverted from other areas to effectively tackle the pandemic.
She made several suggestions on how to generate fund to be able to meet the goal of the PHC Summit 2022, adding that most of the suggestions would require the passage of the National Assembly.
Governor of Ekiti state who is also chairman of Nigerian Governor’s Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi, assured that the 36 state governors are prepared to implement decisions taken at the summit.
Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuib, said in his presentation that each and every one can help change the future, adding that: “Health is wealth. Life expectancy is 54 years. 75 per cent of Nigerian citizens pay for health because quality of primary health is not good enough.”
He pointed out that there is need to raise the necessary finance to back up plans to improve health delivery in the country. He said N2.7 trillion is required to meet the target for effective health care delivery and N1.4 trillion was invested, leaving a gap of N1.4 trillion.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, gave assurance of support by traditional rulers and called for their recognition as leaders of the people.