By Stephen Angbulu
Members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, on Wednesday, pledged to progressively allocate more of their state resources to primary health care through “efficient budgeting aligned to annual operational plans.”
They also pledged prompt release of the approved budget to their state’s primary health care boards, and primary health care facilities.
The Forum’s Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State gave the pledge at the forum’s meeting at the State House, Abuja.
Fayemi said the governors would recruit the required quantity and quality of the workforce in all primary health care facilities in line with the minimum staffing requirements appropriate for their level according to each state’s minimum service package.
He said, “Following the induction to the Seattle Declaration by 36 governors of Nigeria in November 2019, the Nigerian Governors’ forum representing the 36 states of the Federation, hereby, affirm our commitment to strengthen the primary health care system in the country.
“We, therefore, adopt and confirm our commitment in line with the Seattle Declaration as outlined below; improving the governance of the primary healthcare system at a sub-national level by fully implementing the primary health care under one roof policy, and providing active leadership for primary health care through regular engagement with relevant Primary Health Care stakeholders, and quarterly Primary Health Care performance review at the State Executive Council meetings.”
“Promote a progressive increase in primary health care funding by ensuring efficient budgeting that is aligned to annual operational plans, promptly releasing approved budget to the state primary health care board, and primary health care facilities and ensuring that there is a mechanism in place for basic health care provision, fund implementation and oversight at the state and facility levels.
“Recruit requisite health workforce to ensure that all primary health care facilities have the minimum staffing requirements appropriate for their level in line with the state’s minimum service package.”
The former presidential aspirant said the governors would work to institute a culture of use of evidence for decision making, by improving the data quality across all primary health care facilities progressively.
He noted that they will develop a state-led and Local Government Area-levels Primary Health Care leadership challenge for LGA chairmen, for sustainability and to strengthen the commitment of the local government area chairmen to primary health.
On his part, the Country Director, Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation, Jeremie Zoungrana, said the PHC Challenge Fund provides a unique chance to motivate and publicly recognise ownership and leadership at sub-nationals.
He promised to track PHC health indicators to support the NGF, build governor-level accountability, improve performance management, and enhance investments in critical areas of PHC.
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Zoungrana said “The Challenge Fund will also leverage other BMGF investments that focus on improving state-level data ownership, analysis, quality, and use. Under the Challenge, all 36 states are eligible for monetary grants awarded to one best performing and one most improved state within each of the country’s six geopolitical zones demonstrating the most progress against all indicators as per the agreed performance results framework as well as one state nationally displaying the most improved performance (total of 13 awards).
“The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is fully aligned with the Government of Nigeria’s determination to reform and revitalize PHC through the current effort by the Ministry of Health and the National Primary Health Care Development Agenda.”
He said the Foundation is encouraged by recent reports showing improvement in routine immunization, Skilled birth attendants, Nutrition, Malaria coverage indicators, and declining cases of CVDPV2. This is encouraging and you all should be proud of this achievement.
Other governors in attendance include Babagana Zulum of Borno, Bala Mohammed of Bauchi, Godwin Obaseki of Edo, Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe, Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, Simon Lalong of Plateau, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara, Hope Uzodinma of Imo, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, Dave Umahi of Ebonyi and Gboyega Oyetola of Osun.
Also present were the Deputy Governors of Kogi, Edward Onoja, Adebayo Lawal of Oyo, Moses Ekpo of Akwa Ibom, Cecilia Ezeilo of Enugu, and Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo of Bayelsa.