Gombe govt upgrades 114 primary health facilities

The Gombe State Government says it has rehabilitated 114 Primary Health Facilities to enhance access to quality healthcare service delivery at the grassroots.

It also revealed adopting a multi-task approach geared towards improving Universal Health Coverage in the state.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Habu Dahiru, said this while responding to a survey by the News Agency of Nigeria on revisiting PHCs, on Thursday in Gombe.

He said the state government in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund had equipped 114 PHCs, to encourage optimum service delivery at the grassroots.

According to Dahiru, the state government is conducting medical outreach to identify and refer malnourished children and pregnant women who are not attending antenatal clinics through the adoption of a multi-task approach.

He said over 600 health personnel comprising midwives, Community Health Extension Workers and Junior Community Extension Workers had been deployed to PHCs across the 11 local government areas of the state.

The state, he said, activated immunisation and surveillance teams to ensure rapid response to preventable diseases and outbreaks.

According to him, “We preposition drugs in such a way that when an outbreak occurs, we ensure to do what is necessary.

“The most challenging thing is that despite the presence of equipped facilities, some women only attend antenatal care but don’t deliver in the hospital.

“What we are doing now is to have a scheme where Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) that bring in a woman to deliver in the hospital will be given incentives,” he added.

This, he said, encouraged expectant mothers to come to the hospital for delivery and get the first dose of immunisation.

He said the measure would reduce maternal and infant mortality indices in the state.

Similarly, a Bauchi-based group, Journalists for Public Health and Development Initiative, lauded the rehabilitation and provision of equipment to PHCs in the 323 wards across the state.

Its Coordinator, Mrs. Elizabeth Kah, said the PHCs were not only available but well equipped.

She urged the state government to recruit qualified health workers to man the facilities and address human resource gaps.

“There is a shortage of health workers in the state and most of those working at the PHCs are volunteer workers who received little at the end of the month.

“Once there is availability of enough health workers manning the facilities, there will be an impressive turnout of the people patronising the centres,” she said.

Corroborating Kah, Mr. Adeyemi Akanji, said that each of the 323 PHCs was designed with standard structure and modern equipment.

According to him, the PHCs upgrade is being implemented through the Integrated Health Programme supported by the European Union, UNICEF and the United States Agency for International Development.

He advocated the recruitment of more medical personnel to address manpower gaps in the health sector in the state.

However, some residents in Jigawa, decried poor services at the PHCs across the 27 LGAs of the state.

A cross-section of the residents called for urgent measures to revive the PHCs to improve service delivery.

Coordinator, Human Rights Network in the state, Mr. Muhammad Basirka, attributed the poor services at the PHCs to a lack of strong political commitment and a dearth of manpower.

He, therefore, called for the formalisation of casual health personnel and volunteers into permanent workers to enhance quality service delivery at the grassroots.

Also, Umar Ali, a resident of Guri, in Guri LGA, lamented that patients from the area travel for over 200 kilometres to the state capital to access medical services due to a lack of health personnel in their communities.

“Pregnant women are the most hit victims in rural communities where they are hardly attended to by medical doctors in the centres, much less having the privilege to be treated by a gynaecologist.

“They are often checked by nurses, who in most cases don’t reside within the PHC catchment area,” he said.

A health expert, who pleaded anonymity, noted that the state was lagging in quality healthcare service delivery despite the huge budgetary allocation to the sector.

“The state government is not doing enough in providing the required equipment in its facilities,” he said, adding that lack of manpower, especially doctors, and poor services are the major challenges. 


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