Maternal/Child Deaths: NPHCDA To Engage 100,000 Community Health Workers

Maternal/Child Deaths: NPHCDA To Deploy 100,000 Community Health Workers
This file photo shows a mother breastfeeding her child

 

The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) has revealed plans to engage at least 100,000 health workers under the Community Health Influencers, Promoters and Services (CHIPS) programme.

The Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, who disclosed this on Tuesday in Kaduna State, said the plan was aimed at reducing the high rate of maternal and child deaths in the country.

Addressing a meeting of the Northern Traditional Leaders’ Committee on Primary Healthcare Delivery, he stressed that the deployment of healthcare agents to rural communities became necessary as Nigeria loses about one million women and children to preventable medical conditions annually.

Dr Shuaib blamed the deaths on the absence of trained medical personnel and adequate facilities in the affected communities.

The meeting was convened to review the progress made in the reduction of child and maternal deaths in 2017, and to develop high priority intervention in rural communities in 2018.

Part of the strategies agreed at the gathering was to adopt a community-based programme where individuals with basic criteria would be trained and deployed to attend to basic medical needs of the people in their communities.

The NPHCDA boss informed the committee that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed that the programme should be held in every state of the federation.

“We have a total of almost 10,000 wards in Nigeria and by calculations, we would be getting nearly 200,000 CHIP agents spread across Nigeria and this would be the largest aggregations of community health workers anywhere in Africa,” he said.

“Every year, up to a million women and children under five (years) die from the totally preventable cause; our women die during pregnancy and our kids are dying from preventable courses such as malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea and these deaths happen before individuals get to the clinic or any health facility.

“These CHIP agents will be living and working in these communities to find out how community members are doing and where people are found to be sick, they can diagnose and give free medication to the community members,” he added.

On his part, the deputy chairman of the committee Mr Samila Mera decried the high rate of maternal and newborn deaths as a national tragedy which requires concerted effort to tackle.

He, however, assured Dr Shuaib that the traditional institution would key into the government’s initiative, in order to reduce the burden of such avoidable calamities on their people.

FG To Revitalise National Primary Healthcare

FG To Revitalise National Primary HealthcareThe Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to repositioning the health sector through the revitalisation of the primary healthcare system.

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, stated this on Saturday at the launch of the National Primary Healthcare Supply Chain in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Professor Isaac Adewole said the revitalisation of the nation’s primary healthcare system was the only way for the Federal Government to deliver on its election campaign promise of affordable and accessible healthcare for all.

“The revitalisation exercise signifies a major commitment of Mr President to provide leadership in an effort to reposition the nation’s health system.

“Many of us who have been actively involved with the health system recognise that what we’ve practiced hitherto was an inverted pyramid with the tertiary healthcare system at the tip and the primary at the base.

“When the pyramid is inverted, it is not a stable pyramid and most Nigerians will access help by visiting the next or the most available tertiary institution and I did mention that this cannot stand.

“As part of efforts to revitalise the nation’s health system, we recognise clearly that repositioning the primary healthcare system is the way forward.

“It also enables us to translate the agenda of the APC administration; that manifesto simply stated accessible healthcare system within three to five kilometres radius with affordable healthcare to the people.

The Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, on his part commended the Federal Government’s plan.

Dr. Shuaib expressed optimism that the programme would accelerate the achievement of the Universal Health Coverage.

NPHCDA Decries Poor Primary Healthcare Funding

NPHCDA Decries Poor Primary Healthcare FundingThe National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has blamed inadequate funding of the health sector on the poor primary healthcare services in Nigeria.

The Acting Director of NPHCDA, Emmanuel Odu, made the criticism at the 2016 annual primary healthcare lecture in Abuja, organised to discuss sustainable financing options for the sector.

Mr Odu stressed the effects of poor funding for the health sector on primary healthcare services in Nigeria, revealing that over 70% of Nigeria’s health funding comes from donor partners, tax revenues and ‘out of pocket’ spending by the individuals.

Also, a representative of the Northern Traditional Rulers at the forum and Emir of Jiwa, Idris Musa, explained how the lack of funding for primary healthcare had affected their communities.

The Director of Public Health at the Federal Ministry of Health, Evelin Ngige, who spoke on behalf the Minister of Health, confirmed the poor monetary allocation to the health sector.

She, however, assured the people of the government’s determination to provide more funding going forward.

The Global Vaccine Alliance, otherwise known as Gavi, has provided much funding for primary healthcare service in Nigeria.

The decision of the organisation to stop the funding of vaccines in Nigeria by 2017 has raised serious concern about how the Federal Government would make up for the funding gap that the exit of Gavi and other donor partners would create.

Out of the 6.08 trillion Naira 2016 budget, 221.7 was earmarked to fund the health sector.

This is a far cry from the 15% of Nigeria’s budget agreed by African leaders at the Abuja Declaration in 2001 to be committed to the health sector.

Health Development Agency Deploys 1,447 Midwives To Rural Communities

Health Development Agency Deploys 1,447 Midwives To Rural Communities The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), has deployed 1,447 midwives to rural communities in the northern part of Nigeria for their one year mandatory Midwives Service Scheme (MSS).

At a Flag-Off Orientation and Documentation of Basic Midwives held in Kaduna on Thursday, the Acting Executive Director of the agency, Dr. Echezona Ezeanolue, who declared the induction course open, said the programme was aimed at reversing the ugly trend in the maternal and child health outcomes.

Describing the high rate of maternal and newborn deaths as a national tragedy which requires concerted effort to tackle, Professor Ezeanolue charged the midwives to take the assignment seriously wherever they would be posted.

The deployment of the nurses is under the midwives service scheme, an intervention started since 2009, to reduce the number of women and children who die from pregnancy-related complications.

Since its inception, the scheme has demonstrated progressively to be a strategy for achieving better maternal and newborn outcomes.

However unfortunately, lack of adequate funding has been a major challenge in realizing this objective.

The NPHCDA has already staged orientation for a first batch of 443 midwives in Abuja, the second is taking place in Kaduna, while the third would be conducted in Edo state.

The executive director who identified lack of medical personnel as some of the factors responsible for maternal and child deaths in the country, expressed hopes that the deployment of these nurses to the rural communities will mitigate incidents of pregnant women and child related deaths in those areas.

She called on the midwives to show hard work and patriotism during the service, reminding them that their performance would determine their induction into the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria.

“It is our believe that the scheme will continue to strengthen the PHC system and have positive bearing on all other levels of care.

“It is important to note that your engagement into the scheme is a pre-requisite for you to receive your license from the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria.

“This underscores the need for you to be of good conduct to your clients and members of the communities where you will be posted during this period.

“The Midwives Service Scheme has demonstrated progressively to be a strategy for achieving better maternal and newborn health outcomes as well as revitalizing the primary health care system.

“The health workers under the scheme are trained on life saving skills, modified life saving skills and other required skills and competences to improve quality of care at the facility level.

“The agency has reinvigorated the ward development committees and will continue to build capacity within diverse community stakeholders. The scheme has also provided an opportunity to deliver essential drugs and supplies to facilities under the scheme.”

Furthermore, she said: “I wish to reiterate that maternal and newborn deaths remain a national tragedy. Any Nigerian woman’s life lost is a loss to our dear nation’s human capital.

“The loss of lives of mothers and newborns is linked in three delays, delay in recognising that there is a problem and that healthcare must be sought, this often occurs due to lack of access to right information, delay due to lack of means to access to health care which could be physical and financial access and delay to non availability of needed services and skilled manpower to provide services at the facilities”.

The Kaduna state Commissioner for Health, Dr Paul Dogo on the other hand noted that there was great improvement in access to healthcare under the present administration in terms of provision of equipment and manpower at the primary health care centres, stating that with the posting of more medical personnel to rural communities, maternal and child deaths could be minimized.

“Globally, there has been improvement in maternal and child health care, and there has been also a significant decrease in maternal and child deaths rate lets say in the past 25 years.

“Now what we have witnessed today are young midwives going in for one year compulsory community service. We have to address human resource situation, that means we are going to have an increase in the number of deliveries supervised by skilled birth attendants and we know that this will significantly reduce the rate of maternal and child mortality”.

According to statistics, each year in Nigeria, 33,000 mothers die, three quarters of which could have been prevented with existing health interventions, while 946,000 children under age five die and 241,000 newborns die yearly; 70% of which could have been prevented using existing health care packages.

With the deployment of these midwives, they are expected to compliment health service providers on ground at primary health care facilities, it expected that it would reduce the high rate of maternal and child mortality rate.

NPHCDA Blames Lack Of Data For Immunisation Setbacks

NPHCDA on immunisationThe National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has identified lack of accurate data for planning as one major challenge affecting immunisation of children in Nigeria.

The agency stated that the lack of such data affected adequate planning of vaccines for immunisation exercise, especially in remote areas.

The NPHCDA Head of Routine Immunisation, Dr. Bassey Okposen, made the observation on Tuesday in Abuja at a workshop to strengthen advocacy for immunisation through data.

He noted that the agency had intensified emergency immunisation of children across Nigeria’s Northern region in the last two months since the resurgence of polio in the country.

Dr. Okposen revealed that the government deployed at least 28 million doses of polio vaccines to 18 states in the region.

He said although the exercise targeted children below the age of five years, there was no accurate data of how many eligible children exist in the region.

The NPHCDA official also stressed the need for such data, saying it was important for health financing.

Meanwhile, representatives from health development partners at the workshop also gave an insight on the significance of accurate data.

The Head of Research at the International Vaccine Access Centre in USA, Julie Younkin and her Nigerian counterpart, Chizoba Wonodi, said the lack of such data also hampered the effectiveness of finance advocacy for vaccines and immunisation.