From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has commenced assessment of state of Primary Health Care (PHC) centres across the country vis-a-vis their functionality and general state.

The Agency confirmed that PHCs across the country have received huge support, financially and otherwise, over the years but seems to be giving out little in terms of service, hence the need for assessment to ascertain their level of functionality and service vis-a-vis the funding received over the years.

Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, told journalists at the inauguration of the independent panel of judges that would carry out the task, in Abuja, on Friday, that the assessment would help the government access “first hand” information regarding the PHCs and the level of services they offer to the public.

He said: “We just inaugurated the independent panel of judges that would assess the state of PHCs in Nigeria. This project received the support of the Nigeria Governors’Forum (NGF), UNICEF, Bill and Melinda Gate, WHO, Aliko Foundation, because these partners believe in the objective of the exercise and the usefulness of the outcome.

“Our plan is to draw more attention to the primary health care services in Nigeria. With the huge investments, financial and otherwise, over the years, we are not seeing commiserate improvement in maternal and child care services, as well as other services that ought to be accessed at PHCs. Nevertheless, there has been some improvements but they are insignificant.

“So, what we are doing is to set in motion a kind of peer review competition that will follow specific indicators that would be measured by independent verification agents, then the independent panel of judges would look at the assessment result and announce the states’ performances.”

He said the key indicators would include, the ability of PHCs to implement policies under one roof, ability to finance PHC system, provide adequate human resources, as well as level of priority given to PHCs.

Dr. Faisal was, however, optimistic that at the end of the exercise, states would understand the state of their PHCs, and be challenged to learn from the ones that performed creditably well.

Chairman of the Panel, Prof. Clara Ejembi, in remarks, expressed confidence in the quality and capacity of the team members, assuring the NPHCDA boss that the team would do their best to deliver on the project within the time frame.

She was, however, concerned about the non-availability of sufficient and accurate data at the sub-national levels that would assist the team do the job, thus soliciting for support from stakeholders so they can deliver on the task.

 

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Source: news