Niger State government has disclosed plans to build 70 new Primary Healthcare Centers under its Primary Healthcare Under one Roof (PHCUOR) programme this year.
The state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, who made this disclosure while commissioning one of the four MTN Foundation Maternal Ward Support Projects in the state at General Hospital, Lapai, said that the centres will form the first phase of the 274 centres to offer 24 hours comprehensive medical service in each of the wards in the state.
?In the next one year, at least 70 PHCOUR service facilities would be rolled out across Niger State through massive renovation, equipping and manpower improvement.?
He said the neglect of the Primary Healthcare over the years informed the resolve of his administration to give priority attention to this level of healthcare delivery with a view to reducing significantly maternal and childhood mortality in the state adding that his administration was committed to providing qualitative, comprehensive and affordable healthcare to the people.
However, the governor said that government?s efforts at transforming the healthcare sector would require private sector and public spirited individual partnership.
Commending MTN Foundation, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mustapha Jibril said his ministry and the donor have engaged in mutually beneficial partnership in the last three years.
Earlier, the chairman of MTN Foundation, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi said their initiative which is spread across six states with each from the geo-political zones of the country was a step to address and reduce infant and maternal mortality in the country.
Represented by Alhaji Muhammadu Liman, a director in the foundation, the chairman reiterated the resolve of the foundation to partner with government and other well-meaning individuals to contribute positively to the development of the state.
In a related development, residents in the state have decried the non availability of health workers in the existing health facilities calling on government to work towards recruiting more hands to meet the health needs of the people.
The residents who made their stand known during a town hall meeting organized by White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria in Chachanga and Wushishi local government of Niger state to address the need for government accountability in the health sector.
They lamented that they have no place to lay their health complain stating that they do not know about the Ward Health Development Committee set up by the government because the committee is not active.
They also complained about the attitude of the health care staff on ground which needs to be addressed stressing that most healthcare facilities needs to be equipped to be able to take care of women.
A traditional Birth Attendant, Binta Abdullahi said that she is surprised to hear that there are committee taking care of health issues in the wards and local government adding that most people are not aware of it as they (birth attendants) still receive pregnant women for delivery.
She called on government to ensure that the birth attendants are carried along to enable them save more lives especially as most women arrive to them in critical conditions.
The National Coordinator of The White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria, Mr. Tonte Ibraye assured the residents that they will work towards improving citizen engagement in the policy making and service delivery in the health sector in the state.
Ibraye stressed on the need for government to remain accountable and deliver on the commitments in ensuring that the citizens, especially pregnant women, get decent and respectable health care.
The town hall meetings in chachanga and Wushishi local government areas had in attendance about 300 people out of which 97 per cent indicated that they are not aware of health policies, 86 percent stated that the Ward Development Committee for Health is not functional while 90 per cent indicated that there is no platform for accountability in the health sector.