By Abujah Racheal
Abuja – Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) has commended international donors and development partners for
supporting Nigeria’s journey toward achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, gave the commendation on Monday in Abuja at the first anniversary of the
Technical Support Programme (TSP) of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that UHC means that all individuals and communities receive the health
services they need without suffering financial hardship.
The Federal Government in July 2018 launched a structured and coherent TSP to help the NPHCDA to
effectively deliver the required technical support to states in the delivery of Primary Health Care (PHC) services.
The TSP was also designed to reposition the NPHCDA to harness resources from both public and private sector
stakeholders for improved UHC in the country.
Ehanire, who was represented by Dr Evelyn Ngige, the Director, Public Health in the ministry, said that achieving UHC
was a long road but Nigeria was committed as government to ensure all Nigerians accessed equality health care.
He said “I personally admire the TSP for its two-pronged approach to ensuring the agency achieves its mission, which is
to deliver technical and programmatic support to States’ Primary Health Care Boards (SPHCBs).
The ministry added that the first approach was to focus on developing and institutionalising a system that would deliver
the needed support to states, while the second focus was to build on staff capacity to effectively operationalise the system.
According to the minister, one year after the set up, the programme is well on track.
Dr Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director, NPHCDA, said that TSP was established to enable the agency to systematically harness
financial and technical capacities available within and outside the agency to meet technical needs of SPHCBs
in the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Shuaib said that through the programme, the NPHCDA also sought to develop a pool of in-house staff that could sustainably lead
and coordinate technical assistance delivery to the SPHCBs.
He added that “there’s no gainsaying that the NPHCDA provides technical and programmatic support to states,
local government councils and other stakeholders in the planning, supervision and monitoring of PHC services in the country.
“In the quest to deliver effectively on these mandates, we continually identify critical gaps in the PHC system at all levels and address them.
“On the leadership development academy, the programme inaugurated its pioneer cohort of 29 staff; who were taken through a mix
of 6 adult learning approaches, ranging from classroom training sessions to on-the-job coaching. Today, we are celebrating
the graduation of this pioneer cohort.”
The NPHCDA boss said that the agency hoped to build on the progress it made in its first year, noting that
the programme would continuously expand its horizon to 36 states of the federation and FCT with the aim of improving
quality and quantity of technical assistance delivery to help states to achieve their PHC goals.
Shuaib said “our vision is to have a country in which PHCs are strengthened. This is the vision for which we are working.
And that’s the vision that we can achieve together. So, I charge you, as I do myself to remain resolute to see this vision accomplished.
“Following the TSP’s roll out, the programme has recorded tremendous success in both technical assistance delivery to states and
human resource development.
“In the quest to deliver effectively on these mandates, we continually identify critical gaps in the PHC system at all levels and address them.”
Meanwhile, Dr Bulama Garuba, the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, NPHCDA, highlighted the importance of the programme
and how it would herald unprecedented transformation in the health sector with impressive impact on UHC in the country.