By Ishaq Zaki
Gusau – The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) on Wednesday called on the Zamfara Government to show more commitment to improving healthcare delivery in the state.
The State Vice-Chairman, NMA, Dr Manir Bature, made the call in Gusau at the official launch of the Women Integrated Sexual Health (WISH), a United Kingdom’s Department for International Development-funded programme.
The aim of the programme is to provide a comprehensive package of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), with a primary focus on increasing the number of additional Family Planning (FP) users according to the FP2020 definition.
WISH also aims to reduce maternal mortality and improve access to safe abortion.
Bature said the state government needed to improve its commitment towards provision of effective healthcare delivery in the state.
According to him, the state’s worsening health indices has become worrisome and a serious issue of concern to the NMA as a health professionals association involved in various aspects of healthcare delivery in the state
“It is very unfortunate that majority of healthcare delivery services in the state are largely donor-driven.
“There is need for the state government to show more commitment, especially in the area of human resources for the health sector.
“Commitment in providing quality and quantity of health workers with good remuneration and incentives.
“Budgetary provisions and releases for the health sector, especially at Primary Health Care Services, must be improved in order to address the numerous health challenges in the state,’’ the NMA boss said.
In his remark, the Senior Programme Manager of the Programme, Mr Sam Amade, said the occasion was to officially launch the WISH programme in the state.
“We consider this meeting an avenue to bring in all stakeholders, especially the state Ministry of Health, Primary Health Care Development Board, religious and traditional leaders, Civil Society Organisations and other partners.
“The idea of this meeting is to formally create the platform to present this programme to the state government and other stakeholders for its smooth take-off and implementation in this state,’’ Amade said.
He said the programme would be looking at how to expand women’s access to modern methods of child spacing as it recognised that improvement of child spacing services had a huge role to play in improving maternal mortality indices.
“Therefore, we are going to be training public sector health providers as well as deploying outreach teams to go around providing services particularly in the rural communities where child spacing services are not available,’’ the programme manager said.
Amade said that nine out of the 14 local government areas of the state would be selected for the project.
He stressed that the programme would focus more on rural communities because various evidences had shown that there were a lot of women from those parts who lacked access to quality child spacing services.
“Therefore, various interventions of this project are going to focus on rural areas.
“The WISH programme will run for about 20 months starting from November 2018, after which we expect to train at least 50 providers from public health services,’’ the programme manager said.
In his remark, the state Commissioner of Health, Alhaji Lawal Liman, described the project would assist the state government to reduce maternal mortality rate especially in rural communities.
Represented by the Director of Administration in the ministry, Alhaji Halidu Hassan, the commissioner said that the state government was ever ready to partner with all stakeholders, particularly the partners and donor agencies, to improve healthcare delivery.
“At the ministry level, we have created a partners’ forum wherein we work hand-in-hand with all health partners in the state,’’ Liman said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was attended by state government officials, health workers, various health NGOs, traditional and religious leaders and the media, among others.