By Salisu Sani-Idris
Connected Development (CODE), an NGO, has urged the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to set up a monitoring and evaluation team to routinely ensure that Primary Healthcare Centres in the country maintained standards.
The Nasarawa state Lead of CODE, Amb. Salisu Oloko, made the call at a Town Hall meeting on COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project at Kofar Pada, Keffi, Nasarawa State, on Sunday.
Oloko also emphasised the need for the NPHCDA to ensure that all primary healthcare centres across the country had the capacity to host, store and administer COVID-19 vaccines.
He noted that the healthcare system must be strengthened to be able to efficiently respond to health emergencies such as COVID-19.
According to him, the NGO was concerned by the condition of the centres, where average citizens received treatment, and where COVID-19 vaccines were stored and administered.
”CODE recommends that the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) should set up a strong monitoring and evaluation team, to routinely track PHCs to ensure that they maintain minimum standards as stipulated by the agency.
” After three months of fieldwork and data analysis, we discovered that many primary healthcare centres fall below the minimum standards set by the NPHCDA.
“The centres are faced with grossly dilapidated infrastructure, poor and inadequate staffing, and lack of capacity to administer vaccines.
” Two of every 10 facilities do not have any form of electricity; they supplement natural light with lanterns or torch lights; while some of them do not have access to clean water, thus relying on water from sources like wells and rain water stored in tanks.
” With regards to vaccines’ storage and administration, only 56 out of the 90 PHCs assessed have the recommended pharmaceutical fridge to host vaccines,” Oloko said.
He said that some PHCs had shown effort in providing minimum standard health services, with the common service denominator amongst all the PHCs being the provision of ante-natal and maternity care recorded in 90 per cent of the facilities.
” Although, the absence of sufficient personnel brings into question the quality of care mothers and babies received,” he said.
On his part, Mr Abdullahi Jamilu, Discipline, Environmental Health and Education Officer, advised government at all levels to address the challenges of understaffing of primary health care centres in the country. (NAN)