The Nigerian government has officially launched the Technical Support Programme (TSP) on health.
The programme launched in Abuja is meant to strengthen the effective coordination of technical supports to states so as to ensure one health plan across the country.
The minister of health, Professor Isaac Adewole said, the TSP was approved at the National Council of Health meeting.
He said that investing in the Primary Health Care is the right way to go to achieve Universal Health Coverage.
He noted that the initiative will also help to address the various challenges in the health sector.
The minister said that Nigeria’s Primary HealthCare (PHC) gulps the largest chunk of the budget in the health sector.
He noted the fact that, 64% of the ministry’s budget goes to PHC, was a sign that the current administration pays premium to improving access to healthcare in the country.
“Investing in PHC is the right way to go. Over the last two years, we have changed the funding structure and the Executive Director will testify to the fact that the agency is gulping the largest chunk of our allocation. When we started it was from 18 percent and moved to 64per cent”, he said.
The health minister explained that much spending is going into PHC because previous spending on teaching hospitals have failed to achieve the desired result, hence the need to re-focus.
“Many of my colleagues were disappointed because they thought our primary focus will be teaching hospitals but I think we will be wasting our time and energy if we decide to go that way. We have done that already and we have not really achieved the desired result, so we need to turn things around to focus on primary health care where our people go to and that is the facility closest to our people,” he explained.
On his part, the Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib noted that states still struggle with challenges in the area of primary health care, which underlines the need for technical assistance from the Centre.
He said the TSP is designed to facilitate the effective delivery of support to State Primary Health Care Boards.
He said “today, states continue to struggle with cold chain maintenance, delivery of vaccines in the right quantity, to the right place and at the right time, shortage of human resources for health, just to mention a few”.
He added that the persistence of the challenges clearly highlights the need for the NPHCDA to improve on the delivery of its mandate to provide policy direction, technical and logistics support to states and local government areas (LGAs) to implement PHC services across the 36 states and FCT.