Written by Ijeoma UKAZU

PHC, core of Nigeria’ health system - Oluyombo

The Director of Medical Services, Lagos State Primary Health Care Board, Dr Sanni Oluyombo, has said that the National Health Policy recognises Primary Health Care, PHC, as the core of Nigeria's health system.
Addressing journalists in Lagos at a programme organised by Development Communications Network tagged, "Strengthening Health System in Nigeria through Primary Health Care Under One Roof, PHCUOR", Oluyombo stated that "in spite the potential capacity of PHC to meet the health needs of the majority of Nigerians over the years, the outcome has been sub optimal owing to a weak system particularly at the implementation level."
She further said that factors fueling the weak PHCs in Nigeria includes; Leadership conflicts, fragmentation, wide span of control, duplication of roles and concomitant wastage of resources, weak collaboration and coordination, PHC structure and organisation is out of tune with international best practices.
According to her, the concept of PHCUOR is to harmonise the PHC system, overcome structural constraints and improve coordination at the state level, adding that it will also create unitary integrated and decentralised management bodies, structures and systems.
She added that the benefits of PHCUOR approach will enhance coordination, collaboration, effectiveness and efficiency as well as eliminate constraints, fragmentation, managerial uncertainty and wastage of resources.
Oluyombo stated that, "currently 34 plus one state has established Primary Health Care Board or its equivalent and the scope varies across states, 87 percent which is 34 states have legal basis for establishing their boards. States without established States Primary Health Care Development Agency or Board, SPHCDA/B, from scorecard report are; Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa."
Outlining some of the challenges faced by these SPHCDA/B, she said they include; Lack of uniformity in implementing PHCUOR mainly due to none adherence to National guidelines, use of different nomenclature for Chief Executive Officers of states PHC board which causes confusion.
She however added that Lagos state has 278 PHCs, stating that "wards with functional PHCs are 248 out of 376 wards in the state. 57 flagship PHCs with 24 hours service, three medical doctors in each, giving 171 doctors. 26 secondary health facilities, one Tertiary Facility."

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