Speaker decries dilapidated position of PHC, says must right the wrongs

Rep Abbas Tajudeen, Speaker

…as C’ttee laments shortage of skilled health workers

By Tom Okpe

The Speaker, House of Representatives, Rep Tajudeen Abbas has bemoaned position of the nation’s Primary Health Care, (PHC) saying the House is ready to right the wrongs.

Abbas said the nations health centre is not where is supposed to be where every citizen can have access to quality, affordable, and equitable healthcare services, regardless of their background or financial circumstances.

He therefore, vowed to right the wrong in the health system, through Effective legislations as enshrined in the 2014 National Health Act and save it from its present dilapidated condition.

The Speaker made this known at a retreat for members of the House Committee on Healthcare Services, with theme: ‘Improving Health Outcomes, through Effective Legislations for Primary Health Care and Universal Health Coverage,’ in Abuja on Wedneaday.

He said the 10th House would build a strong partnership with development partners, with effective legislation, to improve primary healthcare.

Represented by member, representing Edo State, Dr Adesua Osawuro, the speaker observed that as long as there is collaboration, primary healthcare services can work in Nigeria, stressing that the nation’s primary healthcare is not the way it should be when a comparative analysis is conducted between primary healthcare in Nigeria and other climes.

In his earlier remarks, Reps Dennis Idahosa, Chairman, House Committee on Healthcare Services stated that, “despite its undeniable importance, PHC challenges, ranged from dilapidated infrastructure, shortages of skilled health workers, limited demand for PHC services, gross underfunding and perceived lack of absorptive capacity, leading to low budget execution and return of funds.

“All the challenges, hinders ability of the health system to fulfil its potential.

“However, effective legislation plays a central role in shaping and strengthening the system, through well, tailored and contextualized laws and policies.”

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He said the PHC needs sustainable financing, ensuring that it receives the resources it needs to provide quality services, Leverage lawmakers oversight function to expedite investments in education, training, and retention of competent health workforce, addressing critical shortage of healthcare providers in underserved areas.

“Empower individuals and communities to actively participate in the planning, implementation, and monitoring of PHC services to ensure, they are responsive to local needs and priorities.”

He informed that the aim of the retreat is to address the critical issue that lies at the heart of human capital development and well-being, the pursuit of UHC through primary health care and the vital role of effective legislation in achieving this goal, particularly through collaborative efforts of the executive and legislature.

“Universal health coverage, (UHC) is the vision of a world where everyone has access to quality, affordable, and equitable healthcare services, regardless of their background or financial circumstances.

“Achieving UHC is not merely, a noble aspiration; it is a moral imperative and a sound investment in our collective future.

“Conversely, poor health hinders individual progress and strains economies, perpetuating cycles of poverty and underdevelopment.

“Very importantly, primary health care, represents the cornerstone of UHC, providing the first line of defence against disease and the gateway to the basic minimum package of health services as enshrined in the 2014 National Health Act.

“It is the first point of contact for individuals and families seeking care, providing preventive, curative, and rehabilitative services that addresses most health needs,” he added.

The Lawmaker explained that their ability as legislators to shape the legislative landscape that governs health care and make decisions with profound impact on the lives of millions, ensuring that they have access to the quality health care they deserve, will be constrained by the inability to effectively, collaborate with MDAs, donors, partners, civil society organisations and other critical stakeholders.

The DG National Health Insurance Authority, (NHIA) Dr Kelechi Ohiri, reiterated mission of the agency to ensure financial access to quality healthcare for all Nigerians.

Dr Ohiri, represented by Dr Yakubu Amade, Director Standards and Quality Assurance, said it is imperative that stakeholders recognize critical role played by both the legislative arm and the health agencies in transforming the healthcare landscape.

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