Why the primary healthcare system in Nigeria is collapsing – Experts

At the third annual stakeholders’ engagement and dialogue held in Gombe on December 14th 2022, experts and other critical stakeholders gathered to commemorate the global universal health coverage day with the theme; “Building a Resilient and Sustainable Health System for Improved Universal Health Coverage”. While speaking on the role of ‘Primary Health Care in sustainable Health care in Nigeria, Dr Seni James the provost, state college of health technology Kaltungo Gombe state, who was a quest speaker at the event, noted that primary healthcare is the most inclusive, equitable and cost-effective way to achieve a resilient health system.

He added that primary healthcare is central at providing curative, rehabilitative, promotive and preventive healthcare services to the community in a way that is centered on people’s needs and respects their preferences. He revealed that most of the critical components of the primary healthcare system has since been neglected in Nigeria which is the main reason why the level of the healthcare cannot longer provide the required services to the public.

He further said the primary health system in Nigeria have abandoned the universal primary healthcare concept of health education, nutrition, supply of safe water, basic sanitation, among others to enhance universal health coverage. He listed few solutions to salvage the primary health system in Nigeria in which he recommended that efforts should focus on strengthening all components of the primary health system as defined by the world health organization.

The executive secretary of Gombe state contributory healthcare management agency, Dr Abubakar Musa who was represented by Mr Tanimu Umar spoke about the role of health insurance in promoting universal health coverage. He recommended the wide adoption of the community-based health insurance program to improve health financing in the Nigeria more especially at the primary healthcare level. Participants at the event decry the negative attitude of healthcare workers toward patients-care and recommends that health workers should always uphold high level of professionalism in discharging their duties. Participants also seeks for increased prioritization of maternal and child health in the annual state budget with a specific budget line to curb the surge in maternal and child mortality in the country. The participants also call for increased budgetary allocation to health in the annual budget at all levels of the government to meet the 15% Abuja declaration. The stakeholders call on civil society organizations and media actors to increase advocacy and track government spendings on healthcare to promote transparency and accountability in the health system.