Governors launch Leadership Challenge Fund to improve PHCs across Nigeria

The Nigerian Governors’ Forum has launched a Primary Health Care (PHC) Leadership Challenge Fund. The Leadership Challenge is a flagship programme to revamp the Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR) policy in the country by maximizing the commitment of state governors to promoting a progressive increase in PHC funding, and ensuring all primary healthcare centers have the requisite human resource capacity.

The initiative was launched during the governors’ meeting on Wednesday in Abuja.

Challenge Fund
The Fund is designed to catalyze the implementation of the Seattle Declaration by State Governors and renew political commitments to improve PHC outcomes.

The Seattle Declaration is a set of commitments made by governors to prioritize primary healthcare in their states. It was adopted by the NGF at the November 2019 National Executive Council meeting.

The Leadership Challenge is a joint project of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the Dangote Foundation, and the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA).

From December 2022, the challenge will be anchored on a total of 13 awards to state governments, consisting of 12 awards for the best performing and most improved states and one award for the overall best performing and most improved state.

The Forum, however, failed to disclose the amount to be received by awardees.

Benefits of the Fund
At the launch, the Country Director, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Jeremie Zoungrana, said the Challenge Fund represents a unique opportunity to motivate and publicly recognize ownership and leadership at the subnational level.

The PHC health indicators, he explained, will be tracked to support the NGF to build governor-level accountability, improve performance management, and enhance investments in critical areas of PHC. It will also leverage other BMGF investments that focus on improving state-level data ownership, analysis, quality, and use.

He assured that the Foundation is fully aligned with the federal government’s determination to reform and revitalize PHC through the current effort by the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Primary Healthcare Development Agenda.

Also at the launch, the NGF Chairman, Kayode Fayemi, said all state governors are looking forward to being the recipients of the Fund.

On behalf of the Forum, he affirmed governors’ commitment to strengthen the primary health care system in the country.

This, they hope to achieve by improving the governance of the PHC system at sub-national levels by fully implementing the PHCUOR policy and providing active leadership for PHC through regular engagement with relevant PHC stakeholders, and quarterly PHC performance reviews at the State Executive Council meetings.

They also pledged to promote a progressive increase in PHC funding by ensuring efficient budgeting that is aligned to annual operational plans and promptly releasing the approved budget to the State PHC board.

This, they said, will help ensure that there is a mechanism in place for basic healthcare provision, fund implementation, and oversight at the state and facility levels.

Another commitment made by the governors is to recruit the requisite health workforce to ensure that all PHC facilities have the minimum staffing requirements appropriate for their level in line with the state’s minimum service package.

The governors vowed to institute a culture of use of evidence for decision-making, by ensuring that the data quality across all primary health care facilities is progressively improved.

They also plan to develop a state-led PHC leadership challenge for local government area chairmen – for sustainability and to strengthen the commitment of the local government area chairmen to primary health.



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