How Buhari failed to keep promise to revitalise 10,000 PHCs

THE President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has failed in its promise to revitalise 10,000 primary healthcare centres (PHCs) in Nigeria.

Buhari took the oath of office on May 29, 2015, and will leave office on May 29, 2023, after serving two terms of four years each.

After forming his cabinet nearly six months into his administration during his first term, his Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, boasted severally that the Buhari government would ensure each political ward in Nigeria has a revitalised PHC.

There are over 8,800 political wards in Nigeria.

Adewole began the fulfilment of his pledge with the refurbishing and re-equipping of the Kuchingoro PHC in the nation’s capital.

But the government could not make good its promise.

Addressing journalists at an event commemorating 2023 World Health Day, the 75th anniversary of the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Health Workers Week, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said the country had just refurbished a little above 4,000 PHCs.

Incidentally, the figure was what Adewole, his predecessor, claimed to have achieved in 2019.

Ehanire was Adewole’s deputy at the time as a Minister of State.

Meanwhile, The ICIR reported in 2018 how Adewole lied that the Federal Government did not promise to revitalise 10,000 PHCs.

Speaking at the 2023 World Health Day and other events’ commemoration, Ehanire said, “The Federal Government, in a bid to reverse poor health indices and provide universal health coverage, initiated the revitalization of about 10,000 primary healthcare centres nationwide, exemplified by the revitalised Kuchigoro PHC in FCT.

“More than 4,000 PHCs have been revitalised so far while working towards a new PHC model equipped will staff quarters, solar power, and assured potable water supply to enable 24/7 service provision to citizens. These steps have improved primary healthcare services in Nigeria and reduced challenges women face in childbirth and addressing home emergencies.”

The ICIR reports that given Ehanire’s revelation, the government could have abandoned PHCs revitalisation since the end of Buhari’s first tenure in 2019.



    The ICIR also reports that despite the Federal Government’s claim of revitalising 4,000 PHCs, many states and Local Government Areas in Nigeria fund the renovation and equipping of their PHCs because health is on the concurrent list of the nation’s constitution, which implies that both federal and state governments are responsible for the provision of health care.

    In its series of investigations in 2022, The ICIR reported how many PHCs in Nigeria were dilapidated and lacked a workforce resulting in preventable deaths of Nigerians, especially mothers and children.

    Nigeria currently has the world’s highest data on child and maternal mortalities.

    Diseases such as malaria, typhoid and others that could be treated at PHCs are very common in Nigeria, and the country parades the world’s highest burden of those ailments.

    Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He's a good governance and decent society advocate. He's The ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022 and has been the organisation's News Editor since September 2022. Contact him via email @ [email protected].

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