By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON) has stressed the need for providing adequate healthcare to people in the rural areas through Primary Healthcare (PHC) facilities.
Chairman of HERFON Board of Trustees, Dr. Idris Mohammed expressed this in his welcome address to the Policy Dialogue on the Implementation of Primary Healthcare Under One Roof, held in Kaduna on Thursday.
“HERFON believes that without having PHC under one roof, people in rural areas would still be short changed in healthcare services,” he said.
He explained that since independence, there has been no health legislation.
“What we have had so far was the health policy, which has no force of law, so those found wanting could not be dealt with,” he said.
Speaking further, he said that another issue being faced by PHCs is that of man power, which is experienced in all states.
“Attempt made in the past to address the challenges, are yielding results but a lot still needs to be done,” he said.
He explained that the national health policy shares the health sector into primary, secondary and tertiary, with primary for local government areas, secondary for states and tertiary for the federal government but expressed disappointment that it is not strictly adhered to.
“Our people who live in rural areas who are more in number, require PHC services. Political will and other issues are things we cannot overlook.
“What we are more concerned with is the governance of PHC.
“It becomes a problem who is in charge? Who do you hold responsible in poor performance of primary healthcare. The government looked at it and came up with PHC under one roof.
“States are required to have structures on ground, now called PHC development agencies or boards, targeted at delivering PHC under one roof.
“How well this is done depends on, some guidelines which have been named to guide states and they are nine pillars to serve as guidelines. For any state to be successful, it must have adhered to the nine pillars,” he said.
He pointed out that there are set out standards called scorecard, used to assess states.
“In 2013 or 2014, Kaduna was assessed and scored 43% they did well in some areas and poorly in others,” he added.
The BOT Chairman informed that HERFON provides change management training to states to help them get good results in healthcare delivery.
“We think there is need to change status quo in helping to orientate new comers to see the roles each of them will play.
He said that HERFON was formed in 2004. It metamorphosed from Change Agent Programme which was sponsored by DFID.
“It was informed because Nigeria ranked 187 in poor health system. Things have not changed much, assessment done in 2006 put Nigeria at 185 out of 196 assessed,” he added.
Top stakeholders at the dialogue included Kaduna State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Paul Manya Dogo, Chairman House Committee on Health, Kaduna State House of Assembly, Dr. Isaac Zaka, lead facilitator, Dr. Clara Ejembi.