The Nigeria Health Commissioners’ Forum is set to hold a two-day programme to discuss the role of states in Primary Health Care (PHC) financing in Nigeria.

The programme tagged: “PHC Financing Forum,” will hold in Abuja between 6 and 7 October.

The forum is Nigeria’s community of practice and learning platform created by the 36 states’ health commissioners across the country.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Ekiti State Commissioner for Health and Human Service, Filani Oyebanji, said the event will focus on PHC financing, particularly the role sub-national systems must play in the process.

Mr. Oyebanji said the event is in collaboration with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), noting that they are key stakeholders in ensuring adequate financing for PHCs in the country.

He said the objectives of the event include taking stock of approaches to finance PHC in states, identifying common challenges and policy responses, and developing a shared understanding of the way forward for financing PHC comprehensively and sustainably.

“The event looks promising, which shows the importance the ecosystem places on this type of activity. We are grateful to all our partners and everyone that has registered,” he said.

Mr. Oyebanji said the event will attract participants from the public sector, organized private sector, development partners, academia, Civil Society Organisations, and the media.

Mr. Oyebanji noted that high-performing health systems recognize the importance of having an effective PHC service as a key driver of achieving universal health coverage (UHC).

He said that strengthening PHC strongly relies on its structures across the country to deliver individual-based care and essential public health functions to all.

He noted that although Nigeria has seen marked improvements in the service delivery of primary health care, increasing financing and improving current financing arrangements can catalyze the goal of achieving UHC by 2030.

“Every PHC requires adequate financing and service delivery,” he said.

PHC system
Primary healthcare is a level at which non-emergency, preventative health issues should be managed. It is meant to provide services to the majority of people based on need, without geographical, social, or financial barriers.

Unfortunately, only about 20 percent of PHC facilities across Nigeria are fully functional. The rest cannot provide essential healthcare services.

Some PHCs are faced with a lot of problems, including poor distribution of health workers, poor quality of healthcare services, poor infrastructure, and lack of supply of essential drugs.

The inability of PHC centres to provide basic medical services to people, especially in rural areas, has increased the influx of patients to secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities. This has led to long queues in these hospitals and worsened patient experiences.

A recent report titled; “The State of Primary Healthcare Service Delivery in Nigeria,” shows that Zamfara and 17 other Nigerian states are weak in PHC service delivery.

The other states include Sokoto, Taraba, Kebbi, Katsina, Borno, Yobe, Kogi, Jigawa, Rivers, Gombe, Cross River, Edo, Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom, Plateau, Imo, and Kaduna.

Findings from the report also blame Nigeria’s deteriorating healthcare system on weak governance structures and operational inefficiencies.

Nigeria must fully revitalize its Primary Health Care Centres (PHC) if it aims to achieve UHC, the minister of health, Osagie Ehanire, said during a summit on PHC earlier this year.



By Nike Adebowale-Tambe,
Premium Times

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