Say No To Waste: Equip, Don't Build New PHCs!
It has become necessary to issue this clarion call to action to all well-meaning Nigerians, in view of the continued reportage of the plan by the Federal Ministry of Health to "Construct 10,000 PHC facilities" in the country, under the current financial year and as part of the 2016 budget being considered for appropriation by the National Assembly.
It is on record that the challenge facing the health system at all levels and at the PHC level in Nigeria is evidently not the absence of facilities or gross inadequacy at any level. Studies and assessments abound to show that the sector suffers more from issues such as:
I) Poor and sub-standard infrastructure and facilities
ii) Absence of equipment and basic utilities
iii) Severe shortage of human resources
iV) Lack of medical commodities
v) Poor financing for systems strengthening and operations among others.
Instructively some of these studies were commissioned by the Government itself or by partners such as GAVI and the World Bank.
In addition to the above, similar interventions in the recent past have typically ended in scams and controversies. The mandate of the FGN in constructing PHC facilities is also questionable.
Given its CHANGE mantra, the present Government has no business doing "Business as Usual" by attempting to go on yet another jamboree of building 10,000 Primary Health Centres.
Recent National Service Delivery Indicators show that the average utilisation of the existing PHCs is a miserable 1.4 patients per day!
What Nigeria needs, is to ensure that the currently existing 20,000 PHCs (of which only 20% are functional-4,000 PHCs) distributed across the 10,000 wards are made functional by providing adequate staffing, basic equipment and necessary medicines and other health commodities.
At a "Future of Health" Conference held in Abuja in 2015 (featuring speakers such as the former Minister of State for Health, Dr Muhammed Pate, State Commissioners for Health, and notable Leaders in Healthcare from both Public, Private and Social Sectors), the Director of Primary Health Care Systems at the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmEBoHf17Zw
stated categorically that:
"Being functional doesn't mean building new facilities. We are not recommending that".
It is in light of the above, that I call on concerned Nigerians to take up this challenge and mobilize the Civil Society especially those active in the Health Sector to act against this potential monumental disservice to the people of Nigeria.
This planned intervention is without any iota of doubt, a misplacement of priority and an attempt to misuse very scarce resources. It MUST BE STOPPED by all who have at heart, the interest of the Health Sector and the welfare of Nigerians.
This is the time for all well-meaning individuals and organisations to stand up and be counted on the side of the Nigerian People.
NIGERIANS SAY NO TO WASTE: EQUIP, DON'T BUILD 10,000 NEW PHCs!
Program Management and Organizational Performance.
Please see link below for more info on the government plans.