NPHCDA inaugurates Independent Judging Panel on Primary Health Care System
Edward Samuel, Abuja.
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency, (NPHCDA) in Nigeria has inaugurated the Independent Judging Panel, (IJP) to identify the challenges of the Primary Health Care system in the country.
The Executive Director NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib who carried out the inauguration in Abuja, the nation’s capital say the Federal Government, State and Local Government have invested in primary health care but with all the investment that have been made in PHC space, they are not seeing commensurate result in-terms of the outcome as Nigeria continues to have the highest maternity and infant mortality rate.
“We have seen a great progress in the last two years but the progress that we have seen is not significant enough and does not match our capabilities as a country, this is why working together with Aliko Dangote foundation, Bill and Gate foundation, the Nigeria Governors forum, UNICEF, WHO, the EU, the World Bank, USAID at the subnational level, we thought about how we can promote the achievement of the Seattle declaration and we have seen how in the past, peers review, competition among state have promoted the delivery of key outcome for PHC”. He said.
Faisal said this is the reason why they are excited at the PHCDA, the Federal Ministry of Health and indeed the steering committee that they have very eminent Nigerians from the academia to the communities.
He said NPHCDA looks forward to working with the committee towards delivering Primary Health for all Nigerians.
Speaking during the inauguration, The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, (UNICEF) country representation in Nigeria, Cristian Munduate expressed delight to be part of the historic partnership to drive the state ownership and implementation of key primary health care initiatives and policies, including the basic health care provision from the primary health care under one roof and the Seattle declaration.
She said the meeting sets the marking and the base and that is why the narration of the independent Judging Panel will guide and will directly review and validate state performance to ensure that this initiative remains transparent, credible and relevant.
“I wish to reiterate UNICEF’s commitment to sustain the momentum generated by the launch of the leadership challenge back in Lagos. It is important to remember that almost all of the 36 states governors attended the launch in person to rate the rate, their earlier commitment to lead initiative”. She said.
She said UNICEF stands ready to collaborate with Nigeria and all its partners to ensure that Nigeria has access to a full package of essential and quality health services without suffering financial hardships.
The Director General, Nigeria Governors forum, Mr. Asishana Okauru says the association of governor’s forum is not a political forum but always meets to discuss policy matters.
He said the independent judging Panel (IJP) was inaugurated to be able to identify those state and governors who have not been able to meet some of those commitments and thanked the IJP team for accepting to work with the forum.
“In 2016, the leadership of the forum was hosted in Ciato by the Bill-gate and Dangote foundation and eventually came up with the Ciato declaration. What we are trying to do is to look for a way to make sure that those commitments are met”. He said.
Akauru said there is a team of another technical body, Independent Verification Agent (IVA) that would be helping in ensuring that these things are happening but more importantly, they want to be purely professional and not political matters that is why they are putting these teams together.
The DG NGF charged the newly inaugurated team to see the appointment as providing something for the country, he said the idea is to strengthen Primary Health Care System in other to ensure that the country achieve universal health coverage and promise to make available the NGF health secretariat available to provide assistance to the Independent Judging Panel in the discharge of their duties.
In her remark, the chairman of the Independent Judging Panel (IJP) Professor Florence Ejembi said it is a great day for all of them and some of them have been in the system since the day of Ransom Kuti in 1986 were efforts was began to re-orientate the Health Care System in Nigeria towards Primary Health Care.
“We have been there, the story in terms of our indicators have not changed in spite of all the investments, some of us are in the twilight of our career, and thinking what legacy we are leaving behind if after more than 40 years things still not changing. We do recognize that we cannot achieve universal health coverage and health indicators cannot improve if we don’t have a strengthened Primary Health Care System. We also recognize that no matter the effort at the national level, the translate of policies and plans into actionable things and implementation plans and getting the work done is at subnational level and we do recognize that governance is a foundation, without leadership, without stewardships, without investment by our leaders at the subnational level, we cannot achieve much”. She said.
She said she see this as an opportunity to challenge the state governors to put the dial in the right direction to invest more in PHC, to begin to put more effort at the implementation of agreement, the Seattle declaration and to ensure that PHC under one roof, all the provision are implemented to the later in the state as a credible strategies that will begin to transform PHC in the state”. She added.
The IJP chairman promised that her team will put all that is required to ensure that at the end, the result that comes out will reflect reality, she said they are committed to work with the steering committee to deliver on their mandate for the good of Nigerian children, mothers and the good of the nation and health development in Nigeria.