By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah, Abuja
The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has received 2000 copies of advocacy tools to reduce maternal child mortality and other health challenges in the states across the country, from the Network for Health Equity and Development (NHED).The NHED is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) appointed by Bill and Belinda Gate Foundation to work with the NGF to proffer solution for health promotion especially advocacy for Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR).
The chairman of NHED, Dr. Shehu Sule, who led a delegation to present the tools to the Director General of NGF, Asishana Okauru, in his office said, the advocacy is for three years from 2017 to 2019, adding that the NGO hopes to have completed all that targets meant to reduce maternal and child mortality as long as other killer diseases.
According to him , the Programme is funded purely by the Bill and Belinda Gate Foundation, with the sole purpose of using the NGF platform to improve commitment of governors to Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR).
He said that Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR) is to be implemented in line with the National Health Act that was passed in 2015.
He added that “It is to help ensure that we have good advocacy for maternal and child health programmes in Nigeria”.
Sule explained that the two objectives of NHED that has to do with NGF is to one, support the NGF secretariat in advocating for the establishment of Primary Health Care in line with the Primary Health Care Under One Roof objective, while the second is to work with Federal Ministry of Health and National Primary Health Care Development Agency to generate evidence and tools for advocating to the NGF.
He said already the staff of the NHED, NGF, the ministry of health and primary health care agency have begun work to generate the much needed evidence to do the work.
He said the materials presented was worked on for seven months which included several meetings where ideas on what best form of advocacy should be adopted for the Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR).
He said there are nine pillars arrived at after feedback received from all the executive secretaries of primary health care agency in the states.
Sule said it has been a very thorough process of consultation inclusiveness with all the stakeholders.
He said the next phase is to develop specific advocacy kits peculiar to each state of the federation. He said these specific tools will be developed after a visit to each state to see their peculiar situations, a talk with each state governor during such visits as well as a final talk at the NGF.
Sule described the partnership with the NGF secretariat as very supportive and the good contributions have helped in developing the tools.
He expressed the hope that the tools will help to further improve the health care delivery in the country.
In his remarks, Okauru, said the advocacy tools document were very comprehensive. He said the issues of health is a major priority for the NGF.
He said the NGF secretariat tries to align the priorities of governments in the health sector with the kind of things expected to be seen in the states.
He said the National Healthcare Act is a law with general applicability to all in the country. He said the Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR) is central to what any state should be doing at this time.
He described as unfortunate that people tend to run to the wrong place health plate form every time there is a challenge.
He said the federal government wants all the basic health issues like immunization, malaria, vaccination and the likes to be handled at the primary health care.
He commended the Bill and Belinda Gate Foundation for focusing on this at this time as it aligns with a number of things the NGF is doing.
The DG assured that the NGF secretariat will study the advocacy tools documents and utilize the tools effectively.
He said already the governors are having growing confidence in the primary health care following proper brief for relevant agencies concerned.
He said “If we don’t get healthcare right there is little you can go on in other sectors.”