Healthcare: What Politicians should do – NPHCDA

The Director General, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) has urged Nigerian politicians and elites to adopt a primary healthcare center close to them and support them with critical needs to boost healthcare in Nigeria. 
Nigeria currently contributes 19% of global maternal maternity, records 36 per 1,000 neonatal death and120 per 1,000 under-5 death. Life expectancy is over 55 years, preventable and curable diseases such as malaria, and tuberculosis remains major causes of death, while the country suffers 72% out of pocket spending on health. 
NPHCDA DG/Chief Executive, Dr Faisal Shuaib, while addressing the Accountability Discourse Series 3.0 organised by ActionAid at the Lekki Coliseum, Lagos, with the title ‘Open Government and Service Delivery for Human Capital Development in Nigeria’s Health Sector’, said that while the health indices of the country are not the best, government cannot cater for the health needs of citizens alone.

Shuaib, who was represented by the Director Southwest NPHCDA, Dr Adefunke Oyinkansola Adesope, noted that there is need for politicians, elites, philanthropists and other well meaning Nigerians to key in and support government in the herculean task of keeping Nigerians well. He also admonished them to monitor the PHCs for accountability and report to the authorities once any anomaly is noticed. 
“Government is trying but we need the public to support. Politicians should adopt primary healthcare center in their locality, they should monitor them for accountability and support them. It does not always need to be big money, N10, 000 can go a long way on drugs and consumables.”

Speaking on what can be done to address corruption around the PHCs and ensure effective service delivery, he said, “we can do monitoring to reduce or stop corruption around the PHCs. 
“If money has been budgeted in your local government but the service is not there, you can flag it. There are doctors employed for PHCs, some of them are not going there, once you flag it and he knows that his job is at stake, he will wake up”.
The NPHCDA DG however urged state governments to constitute their primary healthcare board to enable them access the intervention fund available for health insurance. “All states are expected to start health insurance to reduce out of pocket spending. Forms are available, states should set up the board and tell us what they want to use the money for.”

Also speaking, President of Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Francis Adedayo Faduyile, who was represented by Dr Olusola Olubaboyo, urged Nigeria to focus on health promotion and prevention of diseases, which is cheaper than treatment. “A healthy nation is a productive nation. Malnutrition, malaria, anaemia before the age of five is a problem. 
“There is no strategic plan for health, there is no focus on health promotion and prevention, which doesn’t require lots of money but it can be taken care of before getting to the hospital. We should not be battling with preventable and curable diseases. We should focus on health, promotion; washing of hands, exclusive breastfeeding, using insecticide treated net, drinking clean water etc which can reduce our health indices by 60%.”

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