Governors of the 36 States of Nigeria have collectively pledged to commit themselves towards strengthening primary health care system in the country, having being inducted into the Seattle Declaration in November 2019.
Speaking on behalf of the governors, at the launch of the Primary Healthcare Leadership Challenge Initiative yesterday, August 17, in Abuja, the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi said: “on behalf of all of us, the 36 state governors, and members of the Nigerian Governor forum, this is our statement of commitment to strengthening primary health care system in Nigeria.”
He emphasized: “the Nigerian Governors Forum, representing the 36 states of the Federation, hereby affirm our commitment to strengthen the primary health care system in the country. We therefore adopt and confirm our commitment in line with the Seattle Declaration as outlined below.
“1. improving the governance of the primary healthcare system as a sub national level by fully implementing the primary health care under one roof policy, and providing active leadership for primary health care through regular engagement with relevant Primary Health Care stakeholders, and quarterly Primary Health Care performance review at the State Executive Council meetings
“2. to promote progressive increase in primary health care funding by ensuring efficient budgeting that is aligned to annual operational plans, promptly releasing approved budget to the state primary health care board, and primary health care facilities and ensuring that there is a mechanism in place for basic health care provision, fund implementation and oversight at the state and facility levels.
“3. recruit requisite health workforce to ensure that all primary health care facilities have the minimum staffing requirements appropriate for their level in line with the state’s minimum service package.
“4. institute a culture of use of evidence for decision making, by ensuring that the data quality across all primary health care facilities is progressively improved.
“5. develop a state led and state on local government area levels, Primary Health Care leadership challenge for local government area chairmen, for sustainability and strengthening the commitment of the local government area chairmen to primary health.”
The Country Director of Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation, Jeremie Zoungrana, recalled that in November 2019 and following the Seattle’s visit, all the 36 Governors endorsed the Seattle Declaration with key commitments towards improving primary health care and agreed to include PHC as a standing agenda item in your monthly NGF meetings.
She said that in order to support these commitments, the PHC Leadership Challenge Fund was initiated to fill critical leadership gaps in primary health care systems development in Nigeria, adding that the gaps have resulted in inefficiencies, underfunding, lack of prioritization and resulting in poor outcomes for women and children and communities.
“The PHC Challenge Fund represents a unique opportunity to motivate and publicly recognize ownership and leadership at the sub-national level. The PHC health indicators will be tracked to support the NGF build Governor-level accountability, improve performance management, and enhance investments in critical areas of PHC. The Challenge Fund will also leverage other BMGF investments that focus on improving state level data ownership, analysis, quality, and use.
“Under the Challenge, all 36 states are eligible for monetary grants awarded to one best performing and one most improved state within each of the country’s six geopolitical zones demonstrating the most progress against all indicators as per the agreed performance results framework as well as one state nationally displaying the most improved performance (total of 13 awards).
“The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is fully aligned with the Government of Nigeria’s determination to reform and revitalize PHC through the current effort by the Ministry of Health and the National Primary health Care Development Agenda. We are encouraged by recent reports showing improvement in routine immunization, Skilled birth attendants, Nutrition, Malaria coverage indicators and declining cases of CVDPV2. This is encouraging and you all should be proud of this achievement.
“As the team continues to engage key stakeholders and the independent verification team to collect and verify the data that will be used for the awards, I would like to draw your attention to the MICS 2021 result released yesterday. These results while encouraging as they show improvement in key indicators, should also spur us to further action.”