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Soludo wants communities to take ownership of primary healthcare



First Quarter Review Meeting of South East Traditional Rulers’ Committe on Primary Healthcare Delivery in Awka, June 21, 2023.

Gov. Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra has urged community leaders to take ownership of primary healthcare system to reduce maternal and infant mortality, as well as increase life expectancy of Nigerians.

He made the call at the opening of the First Quarter Review Meeting of South East Traditional Rulers’ Committe on Primary Healthcare Delivery on Wednesday in Awka.

Our correspondent reports that review meeting was organised by the Federal Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).

Represented by his Deputy, Dr Onyekachi Ibezim, the governor expressed concern over Nigeria’s health indices and called for deliberate efforts to improve them.

He said “primary healthcare is a gateway to achieving optimal healthcare for all. If given adequate attention, it will cater for more than 80 per cent of an individual’s health care needs throughout his or her life.

“It is sad that our primary healthcare system is facing lots of challenges, contributing to 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.”

Soludo, therefore, said that his administration would continue to intensify efforts at developing strong health system in the state.

In his address, the Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said community leaders are gatekeepers with unique position to promote health-seeking behaviour.Shuaib, who was represented by Dr Bassey Okposen, the Director, Disease Control and Immunisation, NPHCDA, said the meeting
showed the agency’s unwavering commitment to strengthen primary healthcare and improve health outcomes in the South East.

He said “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 when ill.”

On his part, Dr Walter Mulombo, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative to Nigeria, said the
organisation would continue to work with government to increase accessibility to newer vaccines for wider protection
from preventable diseases.

Mulombo, who was represented by Dr Chukwumuanya Igboekwu, Southeast Zonal Coordinator, WHO, urged the traditional
rulers to continue to support the delivery of primary health care in their kingdoms.

In his remarks, Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu of Ezema Olo in Enugu State, who is the Chairman of the South East committee,
pledged the traditional rulers’ support to government to achieve universal health coverage.

Lucy Osuizigbo-okechukwu

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