Minister urges states to prioritize development of secondary healthcare system

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has advised state governments to accord priority to the development of secondary healthcare system in their respective states. Ehanire made the call at the inauguration of a two-day meeting for commissioners of health organised by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), on Thursday in Abuja.

He described secondary level of healthcare system as important as the primary healthcare system.

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The minister noted that there used to be temptation to go for huge hospital complex projects which were very visible and impressive, forgetting that down below the needs of the people were not met.

Ehanire added that the cost of one large hospital could utilize to build about four or five general hospitals that could bridge the gaps in healthcare service delivery at the grassroots.

“The development of functional primary healthcare system is the foundation of healthcare and is complemented by a strong secondary healthcare and infrastructural system.

“In our conversation we tend to forget that there is secondary healthcare; we do have a kind of leap from primary to secondary healthcare system, that is how it was designed.

“The policy is that we developed sound primary healthcare system, and a secondary healthcare system with a functional general hospital in every local government council,” he added.

Ehanire stressed that private sector had much role to play in achieving functional primary and secondary healthcare system.

He appealed to the commissioners to work toward attaining Seattle Declaration to deliver quality healthcare services in the states.

Ehanire expressed confidence that with right attitude, approach and use of data the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on health targets were achievable.

He pledged that the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) would provide the needed supports for the implementation of Primary Healthcare under One Roof (PHCOUR) scheme.

Ehanire commended the commissioners over their support to the Federal Government’s response to curb Lassa fever outbreak recorded in 27 states in the country.

He also lauded the commissioners’ collaboration in ensuring effective campaign against coronavirus, adding that Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and other services were working to prevent the spread of the virus into the country.

The minister further urged health workers to practice universal care precautions and observe infections to protect themselves from contracting diseases or virus while treating patients.

The Minister of State, Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, also stressed the need to strengthen the primary healthcare, describing it as the base of healthcare service delivery.

Mamora urged states to have functional primary healthcare saying: “if we get it right at that level, we will reduce the burden or secondary and tertiary healthcare level.

He also stressed the need for proper funding of the health sector and regular review of progress in the sector.

Also speaking, Asishana Okauru, the Director General of NGF, said primary healthcare remained the pillar of healthcare system.

While acknowledging ongoing efforts of the Federal Government to revitalise the primary healthcare in the country, Okauru said states were critical to the success of the transformation agenda.

“This was impetus for the meeting organised by the Gates and Aliko Dangote Foundation in collaboration with the NGF in Seattle.

“At the end of the meeting, governors and the two Foundations made commitments aimed at promoting stronger collaboration between governors, the NPHCDA, Federal Ministry of Health and development partners to move the needle and transform primary healthcare at sub-national level.

“These commitments, called the Seattle Declaration, were presented to the NGF at its meeting in November and received universal adoption.’’ Okauru said.

Okauru reiterated commitment of the governors to ensure implementation of the Seattle Declaration across board in state levels.

According to him, the implementation of the declaration formed the basis of the two-day meeting attended by commissioners of health of the 36 states of the federation.

By Oloniruha Emmanuel,

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