Only 20% of Nigerian PHCs are functional – Reps

THE House of Representatives has asked the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the health sector, claiming that only 20 per cent of Primary Health Centers (PHCs) in the country are functional.

The lawmakers also requested the government to allocate an adequate budget to the health sector in 2024.

According to a member representing Mushin Federal Constituency II of Lagos State, Fayinka Oluwatoyin, Nigeria has about 39,983 hospitals and clinics as of 2020, with the primary healthcare centres accounting for about 34,000, which is 86 per cent.

He noted that only 20 per cent of these PHCs functioned, and those in rural areas lacked adequate facilities and staffing.

The ICIR reported how 72 per cent of the budgets allocated to the health sector were spent on salaries and running offices in 11 years. Another report by The ICIR (here and here) analysed Nigeria’s health sectors in the last eight years and the expectations this year. 

In 2022, this organisation investigated and reported the state of PHCs in 12 states across Nigeria’s geo-political zones.

Reports from the states, including this and this, showed much worse situations than what the lawmaker said about the nation’s PHCs.

The motion moved by the Chamber was titled, “Need for the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency to collaborate with relevant health agencies in States and Local Governments to ensure the functionality of Primary Healthcare Centres.”

Oluwatoyin said the lack of medical equipment, drugs, qualified personnel, power supply, beds, and road networks had increased the death toll in healthcare centres.

He added that federal and state health ministries’ inaccurate representation of primary healthcare centres hindered proper budgeting and access to quality healthcare in rural areas, leading to premature death. 

In its resolutions, the House urged the Ministry of Health to encourage states to initiate and revive primary healthcare programmes capable of making the PHCs more functional,  provide quality and affordable drugs for the masses and encourage stakeholders in all government tiers to establish a task force to tackle all forms of malpractices at the PHCs.

The ICIR reported how, in July, President Bola Tinubu promised to increase the annual budgetary allocation to the health sector to 10 per cent of the nation’s total budget.

Kehinde Ogunyale tells stories by using data to hold the government into account. Shoot him a mail at [email protected] or Twitter: Prof_KennyJames

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