*Call for immediate upgrade to prevent deaths
Doosuur Iwambe, Abuja
Concerned experts in the nations health sector have decried the dilapidated state of Primary Health Care facilities across the country saying, there was an urgent need to revive the facilities.
A former member of the house of Representative, Hon Mohammad Usman said, it was unfortunate that despite federal government’s promise to revive at least 10,000 PHCs in Nigeria, it has not been able to revitalise up to 3000 four years after the pledge was made.
Usman spoke during a 2-day strategic advocacy retreat organised by Africa Health Budget Network and partners for journalists with the topic; ‘Nigeria’s commitment to the partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health, PMNCH COVID-19, call to action’.
He said that children under the age of 5 die from preventable causes
especially those living in rural areas who are often left out in the vaccination exercise.
“Due to the dilapidated state of the health care facilities, Nigeria usually record hundreds of thousands of neo natal under 5 mortality, people die from cancer and even malaria.
“A lot of children under the age of 5 are often left out of vaccination in Nigeria and that is why so many die from diseases between the age of 5 and other terrible situation.
“Now that there is outbreak of COVID-19 not only in Nigeria but the whole world, we need to look inward and put the necessary things in place to prevent disasters in future pandemic outbreak.
” As it stands today, Nigeria is not prepared and has never been prepared for any health eventuality”, he said.
While calling for increase and timely implementation of health budget, Hon Usman added that for Nigeria to realise its plans of attaining Universal Health Coverage, priotising health must be top on its agenda.
“Health budget has been very low for a long time, both past and present president met in 2001 and agreed that 15% of the national budget should be allocated to health. However, in the past 4 to 5years, it has been 4 percent.
“How can the sector perform well when it is not well funded”, Hon Usman questioned.
Earlier, Dr Aminu Magashi, coordinator, AHBNetwork emphasised the need to ensure that ambulance services are availble across Nigeria for emergency cases.
Dr Magashi who also called for transparency and accountability of the COVID-19 finances in Nigeria added that he was looking forward to a Nigeria where health services are assured.
” I look forward to a Nigeria where health services are assured, and where ambulance services can reach people in their homes. We cannot achieve this without the cooperation of media and collaborative effort from all Nigerians”, he added.