President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his administration’s commitment to prioritize healthcare delivery especially to people in rural areas and the vulnerable population of the society, such as women, and children under the age of 5.
He made this known during the flag-off of what the president described as one of the cardinal programmes of his administration – revitalization of Primary Healthcare Centres, PHCs, in Nigeria.
The initiative was inaugurated with the commissioning of a model PHC in Kuchigoro, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Buhari, in his speech at the occasion stressed that the goal of revitalizing the Primary Health Care Centres is to ensure that quality basic health care services are delivered to the majority of Nigerians irrespective of their location in the country.
“We shall focus more on the people living in the rural areas and the vulnerable population in our society such as women, children under 5years of age and the elderly in collaboration with national and international partners,” he stated.
The president also said that the health initiative was in fulfillment of the promise made to Nigerians by the All Progressives Congress, APC, “to provide succor to the poor while at the same time providing for all other segments of the society.”
He said: “I am aware that out of pocket payment for health constitute over 70% of total health expenditure. This is more than the globally recommended 30-40%.
“However, only less than 5% of the total population is covered by any kind of health insurance or risk protection mechanism which is against the recommended 90% coverage by the World Health Organisation.
“Our vision is to reverse this unsatisfactory situation and better care for the poor and needy.”
Buhari further stated that so far, his administration has commenced the revitalization of one Primary Health Care in each senatorial zone in the country.
“Our vision is to revitalize 10,000 Primary Health Care Facilities in Nigeria using a phased approach,” he said.
“The first phase of this approach is what we are flagging off today.
“It will signal the revitalization of the first 109 Primary Health Care facilities across the 36 states and the FCT.”
The president said that the Kuchigoro Primary Health Care Centre has been renovated as a model primary health care center where quality health care services will be obtained at little or no cost to the beneficiaries.
He added that that the renovation was due to collaborative efforts between “the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, the Federal Capital Development Administration and the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, (as well as other) partners such as General Electric and Sterling Bank.
Buhari reassured citizens that government will continue to ensure that great numbers of Nigerians have access to quality basic health care services.
He also promised that his administration will fulfill all the promises made to the people.
He further assured that the provision of quality healthcare will reverse the poor health indices in the country.
“I am hopeful that our women will no more be dying needlessly during childbirth; our children will no more be dying needlessly as a result of vaccine-preventable diseases or common ailment; access to health care will not be limited because of lack of money to pay,” the President said.
Buhari commended the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole and his team “for ensuring the flag off of this programme.” He also thanked the United States Government, the World Bank, the European Union and Department For International Development “for supporting the health sector in providing quality health service to our people.”
He called on state governors to also make “revitalization of Primary Health Care Centres a vital part of their agenda.”
President Buhari called all stakeholders to ensure that “this facility continues to work optimally by using it and ensuring that the health professionals are delivering quality services.”