Health minister tasks state governments on revitalisation of PHCs

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, has advised state Commissioners for Health in the South West to use the $1.5 million “Save One Million Lives” grant to revitalise primary healthcare (PHC) facilities to ensure an improved health status for the country.

Adewole gave the advice in Lagos at an awareness meeting on the operationalisation of the recently launched “Save One Million Lives Programme for Results” (SOML P for R) in the zone.

At the meeting which had Commissioners for Health in Lagos, Ekiti, Osun, Ondo, Ogun, Kwara and Oyo States in attendance, Adewole explained that the Federal Government–led intervention effort was focused at improving maternal and child health through a result based partnership with States’ Ministries of health.

The Minister, noting the need for a paradigm shift in how progress is assessed in the health sector, stated “specifically, the SOML P for R is based on an approach to structure resources to pay for results rather than pay for processes.”

Adewole told the Commissioners for Health that the National Assembly, Nigerian Labour Congress and other bodies were interested in the proper use of the grant and that they could still have more later when properly used.

He added: “After one year, we will go back to access what has happened to its six pillars. If you recorded improvement over the last one year, then we give you extra based on progress.”

Adewole maintained that the grant was not a substitute for health budget, adding, “states must be accountable to their people. They must put in place budget for health and release the money.

He stated that state governments that budget for health and release the fund were to have 300,000 dollars as incentives.

According to him, “So the states must treat the people, but we will support them. Where they are weak, we will lift them up, when there is epidemic, we quickly intervene.

“We must work together. This money is extra to make extra mileage; create changes; make waves and make sure that things are better and the only way to get additional money is to put it in PHC system.

“Every life will count; we are also saying that every death will also count. We must operate under guiding principles of accountability, transparency and rule of law. We are seeking your cooperation as we build the health system of our dream.”

In his remarks, Dr. Benjamin Loevinsohn, a World Bank official, urged the Federal Government to place priority on immunisation coverage, maternal and child and disease outbreaks.

Dr. Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq, the Chief Executive Officer, Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, commended the Federal Government’s efforts in improving health indices in the country.

Umar-Sadiq said that partnership was key to tackling health challenges, and pledged the private sector’s collaboration with the government.