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FACT CHECK: Did Buhari promise to revitalise 10,000 PHCs, as denied by Adewole?
On Sunday, Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, said the Federal Government never promised to revitalise 10,000 Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) across the country.
While saying this on Sunday, he explained that what the FG said was that it would love to see about 10,000 PHCs revitalised — not that it would undertake the project itself.
“It’s not FG that is revitalising, what we said is that we want to see 10,000 PHCs revitalised in Nigeria. Because if 10,000 is done, it will cover about 100 million people and we did this to stimulate the governors and many of them have taken it up,” Adewole had said.
He added: “PHCs are not under us, they are under LGAs. Why we made PHC a focus is that we just have to take care of it. But normally, PHC is not the responsibility of the FG.”
But is it true that the Federal Government never said it would revive 10,000 PHCs?
INAUGURATION OF KUCHINGORO MODEL PHC
On January 10, 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari flagged off of what he described as one of the cardinal programmes of his administration – revitalization of PHCs — with the inauguration of a “Model” PHC at Kuchingoro, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“We shall focus more on the people living in the rural areas and the vulnerable population in our society, such as women, children under five years of age and the elderly in collaboration with national and international partners,” Buhari said at the time.
“Our vision is to revitalize 10,000 Primary Health Care Facilities in Nigeria using a phased approach. 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.”
While Adewole’s claim that primary health care is the responsibility of local governments is true, the same cannot be said of his claim that FG did not promise to revitalise 10,000 PHCs.
President Buhari did so promise.
Also, during the interview, Adewole said that over 3,000 PHCs had been revitalised nationwide by the Federal Government, state governments, and international partners, including the World Bank, European Union, and the British Government.
However, these claims cannot be true, since a series of investigations by the ICIR on the state of PHCs across the states of the federation show that many of them are still in decay. Some that were renovated are not in use and have been overgrown by bushes.
Journalists, supported by ICIR, toured the six geo-political zones of the country, from the North Central, to the North West, South East, to the South South and South West. The reports remain the same: abandoned PHCs scattered all over with citizens groaning under the pains of ill-health.