Nigerian govt sets aside N28 billion to fund primary health care intervention in 2018

Health Minister, Isaac Adewole
Health Minister, Isaac Adewole

The Nigerian government has initiated a N28 billion health fund that will target the revitalisation of at least one primary health Centre in each of the 774 local government areas.

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, on Monday inaugurated the special intervention which he said would be formally rolled out in 2018.

According to the minister, part of the interventions would include Tertiary
Health Institution Project alongside the revitalisation of 774 primary healthcare centres located in each local government area in the country.

A recent investigation by PREMIUM TIMES mirrored the terrible state of Primary Health Centres across the nation.

The federal government in January this year said it had concluded plans to
engage 200,000 voluntary health workers to improve delivery of immunisation, antenatal care and other health services in rural areas.

The announcement followed the flag-off of a scheme to revitalise about 10,000
healthcare centres across Nigeria.

But about 10 months later, all the eight primary health care centres PREMIUM TIMES visited in Niger, Benue and Nasarawa states in North Central Nigeria had no doctors, drugs or equipment.

The few health workers seen at the centres were outnumbered by patients.

“1 PHC per LGA would be revitalised”, the minister noted on Monday.

Mr. Adewole added that the project would also include the purchase of additional anti-retroviral drugs for 20,000 Nigerians living with HIV/AIDS.

According to him, it will also include the conduct of a nationwide screening of common cancers such as cervix, breast and prostate.

He said that the scheme would carry out free surgeries for 10,000 persons suffering from cataract adding that at least 250 cataract surgeries would be performed in each state.

The minister said the project would also cover free treatment for 800 patients with confirmed diagnosis of hepatitis C infection.

“The tertiary hospitals are designed as facilities at the peak of the healthcare system where most complicated medical conditions are handled.

“Unfortunately these facilities are today faced with numerous challenges
including inadequate equipment for tertiary care services.

“Other challenges are under-funding arising from budgetary and fiscal
constraints and dilapidated infrastructure amongst others,’’ he said.

He noted that in spite of government’s special interventions and annual
budgetary appropriations, the delivery of healthcare services face, ”critical
operational challenges.”

The minister said the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has designed
the tertiary health institution intervention as a means to address some of these critical challenges as enshrined in the act establishing it.

He added that one of the core objectives of NHIS was to ensure the availability of fund to the health sector for improved services.

“Besides this, the scheme is to ensure equitable patronage at all levels of
healthcare facilities within the federation,’’the minister added.

Mr. Adewole said 21 Federal Teaching Hospitals, 31 Medical Centres and 4
Specialist Hospitals including 14 Fistula and Cleft lip and palate centres across the six geopolitical zones would benefit from the intervention.

“Under the project, each of the teaching hospitals will receive N300 million, while the specialist hospitals will receive N200 million each.

“The Federal Medical Centres and the Fistula Centres will each receive N150
million respectively,’’ the minister said.

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