By Saidu Adamu
Jalingo – The World Bank funded Nigeria State Health Investment Project (NSHIP) said it has improved access to healthcare service in rural communities in Taraba by more than 47 per cent.
The Project Coordinator, Dr Ezekiel Ubanus, told newsmen in Jalingo on Monday the project which commenced in the state in 2017, was aimed at bringing healthcare services to the doorstep of rural dwellers at affordable rate.
Ubanus, who recalled that the pilot project started in Ardo-Kola Local Government Area in 2017, has recorded many successes in the areas of maternal and child health intervention as well as improved quality of health services in many rural communities.
Citing Ondo and Nassarawa as well as states of the North-East region where the project is presently being executed, the coordinator said that Taraba has successfully achieved more than 47 per cent coverage of the entire population of the state.
Ubanus assured that the project would leave no stone unturned to “scale up” in order to reach out to the targeted areas of the state.
He described NSHIP as a performance based financing programme, adding “we have done much in the state with particular emphasis on quality healthcare delivery services”.
Rubanus confirmed that the: “World Bank project had received a counterpart funding from the state government”, adding that “our drugs and services are highly subsidised with almost zero contribution by the people.
“The decision of the NSHIP to allow women who delivered in any of its facilitates to pay less has gone a long way in improving the data of safe delivery from eight per cent in 2017 to 71 per cent in the said pilot council within a year.”
According to him, the programme was scaled up to Takum and Jalingo Local Government Areas in May this year.
Optimistic that the programme would further be scaled up to Gassol, Sardauna and Wukari Local Government Areas on or before October this year, he solicited for continued support from the people so as to enable the programme extend to the entire targeted rural communities of the state.
However, Ubanus identified security and shortage of manpower as some of the challenges presently confronting the programme.
He said that the staff and management of the programme would not relent until healthcare delivery services become accessible at a cheaper rate by all and sundry in the state.
The Executive Secretary of the State Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA), Alhaji Aminu Hassan, said the decision of Gov. Darius Ishaku to release the counterpart funds on time has greatly reduced massive movement of patients from rural areas to the urban centre.
Aminu said the three years programme was designed to implement the integrated primary healthcare delivery and ensure that persons at the grassroots have direct access to healthcare services.
He noted that “before now minor sicknesses that can be treated at the primary healthcare centres were often brought to the Federal Medical Centre and the State Specialist Hospital in Jalingo,
“but with the coming of this project, the traffic has drastically reduced’’.