The Ogun Government has decried low patronage of primary healthcare centres by rural dwellers in the state.
The government urged residents, especially the vulnerable, to take advantage of the free services provided at the PHCs in the state to enable them to monitor their health status.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker, made the call while supervising ongoing registration of vulnerable people under the Basic Health Insurance Provision Fund in Emulu village, Orile-Itesi in Odeda Local Government Area.
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency states that primary health care is the cornerstone of health policy in Nigeria and is the first point of contact for most Nigerians accessing the health care system.
The World Health Organisation states that if well-equipped and well-staffed, PHC can cover the majority of a person’s health needs throughout their life, including prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care; adding that a fit-for-purpose workforce is essential to deliver primary health care
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Ogun State government had, in January, commenced registration of 1,000 vulnerable people in each of the 20 local government areas of the state into the Basic Health Provision Fund.
The commissioner noted that the basic package of the scheme include antenatal care and postnatal care for up to six weeks, with overall treatment to children up to the age of five years.
Other services to be covered under the fund are treatment for headache, malaria, blood pressure, diabetes, tuberculosis and other basic medical conditions for the aged.
Coker decried the low patronage of PHCs in different locations of the state, saying that such attitude would have negative effect on the purpose of the free health services for the vulnerable.
At the 2019 World Health Assembly, delegates from 194 countries agree that full range of health services a person needs throughout their life can be provided at the PHC if there is improved safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in health facilities; and also if the right set of professionals are employed.
Coker added that the investment of the incumbent state administration in upgrading the health centres should not be left unutilised, pointing out that all efforts put in place were geared toward making healthcare accessible to all within a short distance.
The WHO notes that primary health care has been proved to be a highly effective and efficient way to address the main causes and risks of poor health and well-being today, as well as handling the emerging challenges that threaten health and well-being tomorrow.
“It has also been shown to be a good value investment, as there is evidence that quality primary health care reduces total healthcare costs and improves efficiency by reducing hospital admission,” WHO said.
However, the commissioner noted that low patronage of PHCs, especially in rural areas, was rife in the state, advising that, “People have a lot to gain by patronising health centres, considering the free medical treatment packaged for the vulnerable under the Basic Health Provision Fund that will take care of common medical conditions.”
“It will also take care of antenatal and postnatal care, among others,” she added.
Stronger primary health care is essential to achieving the health-related Sustainable Development Goals and universal health coverage, WHO said.
“It will contribute to the attainment of other goals beyond the health goal (SDG3), including those on poverty, hunger, education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, work and economic growth, reducing inequality and climate action,” the global health agency said.
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