Kaduna State Health Sector Gets Bill Gates, UK Supports
The Kaduna State health sector on Friday received a boost, as the government signs an agreement with the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and ‘Bill and Melinda Gates’ Foundation.
The State government is optimistic that the agreement will strengthen primary Healthcare in rural areas, to address the constant increase in mortality rates especially of mothers and children.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai signed the Memorandum Of understanding on behalf of the Kaduna State government, while the UK Minister of State for International Development, Mr James Wharton, signed on behalf of the UK government.
Technical And Financial Assistance
El-Rufai said the agreement underscored his administration’s commitment to improving access to affordable and qualitative healthcare services to the people as well as reducing maternal and infant mortality rates in the state.
Due to poor distribution of facilities across the state, to reduce out-of-pocket expenditures on health, there has been limited access as well as low citizen demand for healthcare services.
With the Health Centres the state government is looking to strengthen Primary Health Care systems, improve service delivery and reduce financial barriers.
The tripartite agreement will therefore support Kaduna State’s efforts to increase and sustain effective, equitable coverage of essential health services.
The content of the MOU as presented by the state Commissioner For Health read: “While Kaduna State government will show commitment in implementing the primary healthcare under one roof, DFID and Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, will provide both technical and financial assistance under the MOU”.
Support Through Bilateral Relations
Mr Wharton said that as part of the bilateral relations between Nigeria and the UK, his country’s government would commit £500 million annually for execution of people-oriented projects in Nigeria.
He also announced that the United Kingdom government would continue to partner with states that had a genuine commitment to boosting their healthcare systems.
The Director of Community Health Services at the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Emmanuel Odu, expressed optimism that the MOU would strengthen primary health care programmes in the state.
He also commended the commitment and support of Kaduna State government for providing budgetary allocation for the reduction of maternal and infant mortality in Nigeria.
Effective primary care interventions and the health sector generally, in Nigeria are currently at low standards.
Issues such as poor management of staff, allocation of funds, resources and a general lack of accountability have been prominent in the sector.
The plan to strengthen the primary healthcare system in Kaduna state is therefore expected to enable increased coverage of essential quality health services to the people, especially those in rural communities who presently have no access to basic healthcare services.