By Paul Ajayi
Alhaji Yahuza Magaji, the Taraba Team Lead of Follow the Money, an initiative of Connected Development (CODE) on Saturday called on stakeholders to overhaul the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in the country.
Magaji, who made the call in Jalingo at a townhall meeting with stakeholders in the health sector, said overhauling PHCs would work for the efficacy of vaccination against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to him, CODE executed COVID-19 vaccination transparency and accountability projects in 15 selected states with the aim of tracking donations made toward the eradication of the pandemic.
He said CODE would also monitor the conditions of primary healthcare centres nationwide.
He listed Taraba, Abia, Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi, Cross Rivers, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kebbi, and Osun as the benefiting states.
“The follow the money team carried out the research for a period of three months across the states from March to June 2021.
“Two PHCs were selected from each senatorial zone of a state, making it 6 PHCs per state.
“Findings revealed that 80 per cent of the PHCs are operating below the minimum standard set by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency in areas of personnel and infrastructure.
“Some of the challenges include inadequate personnel, dilapidated structures, and lack of COVID-19 vaccines storage facilities,’’ he said.
Dr Kenneth Tijos, the Director of Immunisation at the Taraba Primary Healthcare Development Agency, noted at the event that more budgetary allocation to the health sector was needed to strengthen the capacity of PHCs.
Tijos expressed regret that Nigerian medical personnel were leaving the country for Saudi Arabia en masse in search of greener pasture in the form of better welfare packages especially as the pandemic persists.
He noted that Taraba currently had 90 standard PHCs courtesy of the Nigeria States Health Investment Project (NSHIP), saying that the government was planning to upgrade others across the state.
While commending CODE for its advocacy, Tijos said a blueprint would be developed to cover the areas of concerns raised in the findings.