The Federal Government of Nigeria has on Thursday, in Abeokuta through the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, announced plans to set up 10,000 functional primary healthcare centers across the country, as part of the efforts to improve healthcare services.
The Minister disclosed this during his familiarization visit to the Federal Medical Center, Abeokuta, noting that constructing more healthcare centers would reduce pressure on tertiary health institutions in this President Muhammadu Buhari administration which is committed to tackling medical tourism.
Ehanire statistically explained that the country loses an estimated one billion dollars annually as a result of Nigerians travelling abroad to get the desired medical services and as part of the government’s agenda, adding that over 10,000 functional primary healthcare centers would be established in various parts of the country. This, he said, would help reduce the pressure on tertiary health institutions, as it would be re-positioned to address health challenges often treated in foreign countries.
“We are losing estimated one billion dollars on Nigerians going abroad to get treatment. We have tertiary hospitals that should be good enough to handle what most Nigerians go abroad for.
“What we should do is to ensure training and retraining of staff, provide equipment and ensure proper modern service delivery; we must have patient-centered healthcare service,” he noted.
The Minister further mentioned that amidst the competing needs and priorities of the nation, the Federal Government was doing its best to generate resources from all areas to fund the health sector.
The Chief Medical Director of the Federal Medical Center, Abeokuta, Dr Dapo Sotiloye, revealed that the hospital within its short period of existence, has impacted positively on the growth of medicine in the country and has earned some local and international recognition, but that it still needed funds for some of its vital capital projects, including completion of water schemes, reticulation of electricity, among others.
This is in line with Prof Isaac Adewole, the Minister of Health’s promise in December 2015, at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti, where he disclosed that federal government has concluded arrangements to build 10,000 primary health facilities in the 774 local government areas across the country for effective service delivery to the people and to decongest the tertiary institutions.
It was revealed then that plans were ongoing to ensure that targeted 60 million poor Nigerians will enjoy unfettered medical care under President Muhammadu Buhari’s government within the next two years.
Consequently, Prof. Adewole inaugurated a committee on Tuesday in Abuja, to map out all the Primary Healthcare Centers (PHC) across the country.
The committee is to ascertain the number and locations of Primary Healthcare Centers available in the country, and also to determine how many are functional or otherwise.
The committee which to be chaired by Prof. Michael Asuzu, Prof. of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Ibadan, Oyo State has 11 members and Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) would serve as secretariat.