Declare emergency in primary healthcare — NMA

In Nigeria, all is not well with primary health care, widely regarded as the cornerstone of essential healthcare, access to Universal Health Care, and the attainment of health-related Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, and health security.

The Primary Healthcare Centres, PHCs, which are the first point of contact with the healthcare system, are not meeting the needs of Nigerians for essential health services as a result of years of neglect and poor funding.

Investigations by Vanguard revealed that many of the PHCs in the six geo-political regions of the country are distressed by challenges of poor staffing, inadequate equipment, substandard infrastructure, shortage of health workers, and lack of essential drug supply among others.

Several of the health centres visited by our correspondents were in  bad state and not providing the required comprehensive health care, maternal and child healthcare services, essential drugs and diagnostic services or referrals to secondary and tertiary healthcare institutions.

This is coming 30 years after efforts by former Minister of Health, the late Professor Olikoye Ransome Kuti, to implement provisions of the Alma-Ata Declaration by adopting model PHCs in 52 Local Government Areas in the country. Currently, only about 6,000 or 20 per cent of the 30,000 available PHC facilities in the country are functional.

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