FG To Expand Number Of PHCs From 8,300 To 17,00o With N260b

Prof. Muhammad Ali-Pate, Coordinating Minister for Health and Social Welfare

By Kemi Yesufu

The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Pate on Friday disclosed plans by the Federal Government in collaboration with states to revitalize 8,300 Primary Healthcare centres (PHCs) and expand the number of these centres to 17,000 across the country.

Speaking at the sectoral ministerial press briefing to mark the first anniversary of President Bola Tinubu in office. the minister added that N260bn has been earmarked for the revitalisation and expansion of the number of these centres which serve as the entry point of the country’s health system.

He said: “At the primary health care level, through the National Primary Health Care

Development Agency, in collaboration with the States, we outlined a plan to revive

8300 primary health care centers across the nation to make them fully functional and

to expand and upgrade to 17,000 Primary Health Care Centers over the next 3-years.

The expansion is to refurbish these centers, equip them, making them fully functional

to deliver essential services such as immunization, reproductive, maternal, newborn,

and child health services, treatment of non-communicable diseases, and to facilitate

referrals to secondary facilities. However, this ambitious plan requires the states to

complement the efforts of the federal government.

“Regarding the revitalization of primary health care, which aligns with the President’s

directive, I am pleased to report that 260 billion Naira is already currently available at

the state level for this purpose through IDA financing and the BHCPF. The revitalization

of our primary health care centers hinges on the availability of resources and hence

significant efforts made to mobilize and deploy the funds. We are now providing

guidelines to assist the states in the implementation of the revitalization projects,

ensuring that the resources are used prudently for their intended purposes”.

 On the issue of qualified health sector personnel Pate said more health worker are being trained.

He said: “Addressing the critical issue of the health workforce, we have doubled the intake

capacity of our educational institutions. Enrollment quotas for medical schools,

nursing schools, and other health professional training institutions have increased

significantly from 28,000 to 64,000 annually. Now the hard work of getting educational

institutions to enhance infrastructure, teaching materials to ensure quality is not

eroded by expanding the quantity. This is necessary given the shortage of health

workforce.

“We have also approved a managed migration policy for health and are looking at

how best to address the excessive workload of medical providers, especially the

medical doctors. In the last 7 months more than 100 young medical graduates

secured residency positions in the US and we issued the certificates of need for them

to be trained and return home, and changed the policy to include domestic as well

as internationally trained medical graduates. We are working with Ministry of Labor

as well as Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission to address long standing legacy

issues of compensation and allowances which will take time and more patience from

health workers.

“All the above are on the supply side, but on the demand side, to expand affordability

and financial protection, we are repositioning NHIA to expand insurance coverage

for all Nigerians, especially the poor and vulnerable, not excluding civil servants who

need deepened coverage. 1.8 million Nigerians are covered through the Vulnerable

Groups Fund at NHIA”.

The minister said to meet the Renewed Hope agenda of the Tinubu Administration, the Federal Ministry of Health developed four pillars based on which it will implement policies and programmes.  Pate also assured that transparency and accountability would be the watchword of the ministry especially with regard to the implementation of jointly executed programmes.

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