Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press.
I welcome you to this significant press conference organized by Primary Health Care Under One Roof State Advocacy Team (PHeCSAT) to mark the end of PHCUOR advocacy intervention (phase II) project supported by MamaYe Nigeria implemented in Niger State under the coordination of Global Promoters for Community Initiative (GPCI).
GPCI is registered under the law of Nigeria as Non-Governmental, Non-Partisan and Non-Profit making Organization. Our intervention covers health system strengthening and intervention through policy advocacy and service provision. In the past 3 years, we have received support from MamaYe Nigeria to carry out a PHC system strengthening advocacy intervention in Niger State. In the phase one of the project, we advocated for a Costed Minimum Service Package (MSP), which we achieved. On the phase two of the project, which started last year April, we had two advocacy objectives which are 1. Leadership and Governance, and 2. Repositioning, these two are objectives are pillars of the PHCUOR Policy.
This project has since achieved one of its intervention targets while the second is half-way achieved. And, it should be noted that, our intervention have brought the state to second best State Primary Health care Development Agency (SPHCDA) in Nigeria on PHCUOR Scorecard 4.
As part of the commitment of this coalition, we joined other stakeholders across Africa to commemorate the Day of African Child 2019, because, the health of African child especially that of the under 5 is paramount to us. Because, 23% of our children still die of preventable diseases.
We want to first, acknowledge the efforts of state government and all non-state actors across the state, and the federal government for their efforts in investing in the health sector to meet most special health needs of women and children despite the competing challenges for resource allocation and implementation at all corners.
Having said that, let me say that this coalition is calling on the government of Niger State under the leadership of His Excellency, Alh. (Dr.) Abubakar Sani Bello to fund, implement and ensure accountability of the State Health Delivery Plan to accomplish Universal Health Coverage in Niger State.
Universal health coverage (UHC) means that all inhabitants of Niger State get quality health services where and when they need them without suffering barrier of location and financial hardship.
The Primary Health Care State Advocacy Team in Niger State is a coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Media with common goal and focused on improvement of Primary Health Care (PHC) services in the State.
It should be noted that, the coalition have also worked with other stakeholders in the state to advocate to state government to inaugurate the State Primary Health Care Governing Board which was widely celebrated in September 2018 but have suffered a setback as it was affected by mass dissolution of all Boards and Parastatals in the state during transition.
PHeCSAT rejoiced with the Executive Governor of Niger State, H.E. Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello on his victory at the poll and his successful inauguration for another term in office. We acknowledge the Governor’s support for the successful take off of Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) through State Contributory Health Insurance Scheme in the state, which was made possible after a huge commitment by the state government in payment of N100 Million counterpart funding. We believe that this administration will keep toiling on the path of sincerity in their promise for making Universal Health Care coverage a reality to Nigerlites. We also applaud the government for the commitments in payment of counterpart funding on several health programmes that have positive drive to scale up the quality and sustainable PHC service delivery which directly affect maternal and child health in the state.
However, this coalition frowned at the dissolution of the SPHCDA Governing Board, knowing that this Board was freshly inaugurated and have not even have an all-inclusive Board sitting after its inauguration. We believed that, since we have same government that returned to power and the Deputy Governor who was appointed as the Chairman of the Board is still in office, the SPHCDA Board should have been exempted from the mass dissolution.
In the first term of this administration, it could be recalled that, on 3rd of November 2016, The Governor declared the state of emergency on health sector because of decaying status of health sector in the state. Hence, it is glaring that, with the recent efforts of the Governor, it is clear that he has keen interest in providing quality healthcare for the people of Niger State.
Despite all the efforts highlighted above, little improvement has been made especially on the proclamation of the Governor on one functional PHC per political ward. We identified that, these have been associated to human-made challenges in implementing health policies and lapses associated to health budget spending from poor budget release to low access to health spending in the state. These which have impede productive efforts to yield fruitful results. The state high allocation to health sector are being marred with poor release of allocated health budget, low understanding of health policies which made it challenging for domestication and proper implementation, low access to health budget spending, low access to some government data especially on human resource for health, low coordination of partners and low intersectoral collaboration in health sector considering health as multisectoral.
Call to Action:
- The Governor of Niger State to make a pronouncement to exclude the SPHCDA Governing Board from the mass dissolution or with immediate effect inaugurate the Board.
- The Government of Niger State fund, implement and ensure accountability of the State Health Delivery Plan to accomplish Universal Health Coverage in Niger State.
- The State Government should improve on recruitment of skilled health workers and with priority to posting of minimum requirement of health workers to focal PHC across the 274 wards of Niger State.
- The state government should expedite action on the repositioning of SPHCDA by transferring of PHC staff across the state including payment of their salaries form Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
- The Local Government Authorities of Niger State to comply with the provision of the Law that established the SPHCDA which mandated that, 15% of allocation of LGAs shall be remitted to SPHCDA as management cost for PHCs across the state.
- The State House of Assembly to review the Act the established the SPHCDA to include specifically channels of distribution of 15% allocation to health in LGA annual budgets.
It is in our anticipation that, for Niger State to achieve Universal Health Coverage, the above actions must be taken with political will by government at levels and there is need to improve the health indices and reduce the negative impact on our mothers and babies.
As we appreciate the efforts of the press in enlightening the people and providing relevant information on timely basis, because of the robust developmental partnership we enjoy. We urge you to continue to, in your reportage, raise the tempo on proper implementation of health policies (especially PHCUOR), sustainable health funding through full implementation of Niger State Health Delivery Plan to accomplish Universal Health Coverage and always make the government to account for all health spending.
We thank you for coming and for spending your time with us today. We pray that you return to your work place in peace.
Long live Niger State. Long live Nigeria.
Thank you and God Bless.
Dr. Stephen Adeoye Mrs. Liatu Danladi
Co-Chair, PHC SAT Co-Chair, PHC SAT.
Executive Director Business Advocacy Grp Vice President WRAPA
State Coordinator, PHC SAT
Executive Director, GPCI.