Enugu Govt partners with UNN on quality healthcare

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By Alex Enebeli

The Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency says it will partner Health Policy Research Group (HPRG), University of Nigeria (UN) to deliver quality healthcare in the state.

The Executive Secretary of the agency, Dr Ifeyinwa Ani-Osheku, said this when the group along its partners from CHORUS Urban Health Project, University of Leeds, United Kingdom, visited her on Friday in Enugu.

Ani-Osheku said the partnership is aimed at enhancing quality healthcare system delivery in the state, especially in slums and other deprived localities.

She added that the collaboration marked a significant step towards achieving sustainable health goals in Enugu State’s healthcare system.

She stated that the partnership would create harmonious relationship among service providers to deliver comprehensive healthcare services.

This, she said, would provide the needed evidence for policymaking and enhanced delivery of health services.

Ani-Osheku promised to support the group’s initiative, emphasising her commitment to working closely with the team to ensure they fulfill their objectives.

Ani-Osheku expressed her eagerness to engage in collaborative research, which would not only enhance the agency’s reputation but would contribute to innovative solutions that could be replicated in other regions.

She noted that the primary healthcare system in Enugu had recently undergone a comprehensive analysis, encompassing infrastructure, staff accommodation and service delivery.

The executive secretary, who praised efforts of the state government in healthcare improvement, highlighted the vital roles a healthy nation plays in fostering a thriving economy.

She said the initiative aligned with Gov. Peter Mbah’s vision to grow the state’s economy from N4.4 billion to N30 billion.

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Addressing existing challenges, particularly in immunisation and the health centre space, Ani-Osheku acknowledged the need for increased state involvement, with a transition underway to empower local leadership.

Recognising gaps in essential medicine and equipment, she said the agency was actively working to close the gap.

She also disclosed that the state government was exploring additional funding to ensure availability of essential medicines as well as increase awareness among users, in order to achieve Universal Health Coverage.

She stated that the agency had set a standard for measuring Primary Healthcare Centers (PHCs), with a goal of elevating 260 out of 530 PHCs, to guarantee 24-hour service delivery, particularly on critical cases.

“We have a standard by which we want to use to measure our PHCs, we have at least 530 PHCs. Out of these 530.

“Over 260 are actively being supported by the funding of the Federal Government of Nigeria, under the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.

“Our idea is to get those 260 facilities to a level to ensure 24 hour service delivery to the people such that when a bleeding mother is sent to a facility, it is capable of handling it,” she said.

Earlier, the Coordinator of HPRG, College of Medicine, UN, Enugu Campus, Prof. Obinna Onwujekwe, emphasised the significance of bringing informal health providers like traditional birth attendants, bone setters, patent medicine vendors (chemists) into the formal system to improve their services, quality control and effectiveness.

Onwujekwe said their visit was to familiarise their partnership with the agency which he described as a crucial step towards achieving global health targets for primary healthcare and community health system.

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He said that the group had earlier embarked on an extensive field assessment seeking a way to integrate informal health providers into the formal healthcare system.

This, he said was by improving the quality of health services in slums and other communities.

He said, “Most of them operate within ungoverned spaces. You can bring them in and link them to better PHC system to know what they are doing and how they can provide adequate services.

“We have developed interventions with the agency and we want to see if what we are doing works.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports HPRG’s core mission involves conducting quality research in health systems and policies, and influencing policymakers and other health actors to use scientific evidence for improved healthcare delivery.(NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Julius Toba-Jegede

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