THE EXECUTIVE 24/11/2023
NEC Okays Revamping of 17,000 PHCs
The National Economic Council (NEC) has approved plans to overhaul 17,000 and 774 primary and secondary healthcare centres across the country.
It said the move was in response to identified funding gaps and deteriorating healthcare matrix.
The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate, announced the overhaul to the council, according to Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed.
Relaying the Minister of Health’s brief to Council, Mohammed said: “The presentation …dissected, in terms of very robust sector scan on health, from the tertiary to the primary level, looking at all the gaps, the problems and challenges of funding.”
According to him, the programme aims to “service 17,000 primary health centres to be put on a threshold of viability, 774 secondary facilities, that is hospitals, in addition to some tertiary institutions”.
Mohammed said the comprehensive plan was designed to “make sure medicare is brought close to the majority of Nigerians”.
Commenting on sources of funding, the governor announced that “suggestions were made …that we could use some taxes from communication, from airlines, as well as our taxes from the state governments” to bridge the financial gaps plaguing the healthcare system.
Highlighting the critical shortage of healthcare professionals, he said there had been the “huge problem of human capital and attrition of experts”.
According to him, there is the necessity of developing strategies to retain local talent.
Mohammed said: “Certainly, we have a huge problem of human capital and attrition of experts and the need to develop a strategy to retain our experts to care for our health sector.
“So, the presentation is a robust compact that looked at all the problems and challenges of the Health sector, from financing, the human capital, from the supervisory point of view. Even on the leadership level, from the Presidency to the local governments, there is the need for us as governors, local government even media, to put interest in the Health sector.”
The Bauchi State governor said NEC’s resolution included an upcoming compact agreement with the World Health Organisation (WHO) on December 15, where “all the governors will come and sign a compact agreement in terms of service compact”.
This, he argued, underscored the collective commitment to budgeting for and prioritising healthcare.
Mohammed said while a democratic system like Nigeria’s cannot forcefully stop the exodus of healthcare professionals to other countries in search of greener pastures, the Federal Government had put plans in place to manage the brain drain.
The governor urged Nigerian healthcare professionals to be patriotic, citing the example of the Health Minister who he said jettisoned a more lucrative position at the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Innovation to serve his nation.