The Nigeria Medical Association has blamed the new outbreak of yellow fever in the country on the collapse of the primary health care centres. It noted that when preventable diseases were not dealt with at the PHCs, they “become complicated by the time they get to tertiary level.” The National Centre for Disease Control had on Saturday alerted the nation to the outbreak of the disease in Ebonyi State with death toll at the time rising to 20.
In an exclusive interview with our correspondent, the NMA president, Dr Francis Faduyile, who said immunisation against preventable diseases was the duty of the primary health care centres, called for immediate vaccination of people to prevent the spread of yellow fever.
He said, “The new outbreak of yellow fever in Ebonyi State and the death toll reported are some of the direct consequences of not having a functional primary health care centre in place. Immunisation against health concerns like yellow fever should be at the level of the primary health care centre.
“It is unfortunate that what we call primary health care centre here is not functioning. Sometimes ago when we had the yellow fever outbreak in Edo and other states, we did not have enough vaccines to dispense to people.
“But later, the government responded well and we were able to get the adequate supply of the yellow fever vaccine. As a matter of necessity, our primary health care centre must begin to function to perform its duty. That is the only way to curb diseases that can be taken care of through vaccine.”
The NMA boss said the promise by the Federal Government to revitalise 10,000 primary health centres across the country was a lofty idea but said it was unfortunate that the initiative had not been properly implemented two years after its commencement.