Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo lamented Nigeria’s growing health indices, saying they required deliberate efforts to improve.
He urged community leaders to take ownership of primary healthcare system to reduce maternal and infant mortality as well as increase life expectancy of Nigerians.
Soludo spoke through his Deputy, Dr Onyekachi Ibezim at the First Quarter Review Meeting of South East Traditional Rulers’ Committe on Primary Healthcare Delivery, organised by Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA).
He reiterated his administrations preparedness to intensify efforts at developing strong health system in the state.
He said, “Primary healthcare is a gateway to achieving optimal healthcare for all. If given adequate attention, it will
cater to more than 80 per cent of an individual’s health care needs throughout his or her life.
“But It is sad that our primary healthcare system is facing lots of challenges which is contributing to Nigeria’s poor health indices, including high maternal and child mortality, as well as poor life expectancy.
“Our communities and individuals need to take ownership of primary health because the foreign donors and the federal government will not always be here to help us all the time.
“We need to critically look at infrastructure development and human capacity to get it right with our health system.”
Earlier, Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said that community leaders were gatekeepers who had unique position to promote health-seeking behaviour.
Shuaib who was represented by Director, Disease Control and Immunisation, Dr Bassey Okposen said the meeting showed the agency’s unwavering commitment to strengthening primary healthcare and improving health outcomes in the South East region.
“Your Majesties, your role as advocates for the health sector is paramount. We respectfully request that you encourage your communities to embrace primary healthcare as the first point of contact,” he said.
Also speaking, World Health Organisation Country Representative to Nigeria, Dr Walter Mulombo said they would continue to work with government to increase accessibility to newer vaccines for wider protection from vaccine preventable disease.
Mulombo who was represented by Southeast Zonal Coordinator, WHO, Dr Chukwumuanya Igboekwu urged traditional rulers to continue to support the delivery of primary health care in their kingdoms.
In his remarks, Chairman of the Southeast committee, Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu of Ezema Olo in Enugu State promised that they would continue to support the government to achieve universal health coverage.