Turning The Tide in Health Sector

Rabi Abdallah, Abuja: It is a joyous moment at the masaka Primary Health Centre in Nasarawa state.

Comfort Daniel whom a couple of hours ago sang along with these other women attending antenatal at the health facility has just been delivered of a baby girl, impromptu, but safely thanks to the skilled birth attendants at hand.

In 2013, approximately,1 in every 9 maternal deaths that occurred globally took place in Nigeria. According to the National primary health care development agency, a large number of Nigerian women from low income households did not use health care facilities and the chances of giving birth with skilled help was as low as 1 in 7 with over 500 deaths per 100,000 live births. The nation was recording one of the worst maternal and child health statistics in the world.

Despite significant investment in the health sector, very little progress was being made in changing these poor health statistics.

As a catalyst for the realisation of key objectives of the change agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari led government in health, the federal ministry of health designed a rapid result initiative RRI, tagged Better Health for All which contained a set of high impact results to improve the health of Nigerians especially the poor and most vulnerable in the population. Revitilization of primary health care system is one of the 6 pillars of the Better Health for All programme.

Beginning with the kuchigoro primary health centre in the Abuja municipal area council of the FCT, flagged off as a model by president Muhammadu Buhari in January 2017, the federal government in collaboration with private sector organizations and other partners is making primary health centres functional.

Examples of these partnerships are the Saving One Million Lives Program for results and the Nigerian State Health Investment Project NSHIP, being piloted in some states, and the results have started to show as witnessed in Masaka Primary Health Centre and a host of others.

Major factors that determine the quality of service delivery at health facilities include the level of physical infrastructure, availability of medical equipment, drugs and commodities. These facilities are found in all the primary health centres which have been revitalized.

The attendance in all services like immunization, antenatal, family planning, as well as management of minor ailments rendered by the kuchigoro primary health centre is said to have grown from 6,662 in 2016 to 10,016 after launch of revitalization in 2017.

It is a thorough face lift that has made possible services that were never provided at primary health care level.

Health is wealth and if Nigeria must continue on her match to improving the lives of her citizens, special focus must be placed on saving lives especially those of her women and children.

Health is one of the key mandates to the citizens. The Muhammadu Buhari
administration believes that the health sector of the Nigerian economy is meant to secure the society and ensure that the populace as much as possible is in the state of health to effectively drive the engine of national development.

This pathetic scenario is where, patients from across the country trooped into the National Hospital Abuja for the only functional radiotherapy machine.Today, the story is different. The commissioning of a new radiotherapy centre in 2017 is a major breakthrough in the commencement of modern treatment for cancer patients in Nigeria.

The government recognizes that its ability to transform non-renewable and often volatile natural capital into productive wealth by investing more in human capital, and that targeted coverage expansion for high impact reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health interventions to underserved populations have an immediate impact on the health of women and children. Several programs piloted by government and partners across the country have demonstrated these.

Expanding such programs sustainably is crucial to improving health outcomes, human productivity and economic growth.

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