Lagos – Dr Akudo Anyanwu-Ikemba, Founder, Friends Africa Initiative, an NGO, on Friday in Lagos said the empowerment of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs), could reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
Anyanwu-Ikemba told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that Primary Healthcare was the closest health institution to the populace and fostered enlightenment as well as preventive treatments of HIV and AIDS.
She decried the dilapidated condition of PHCs in Nigeria as they lacked basic facilities and personnel, which had discouraged people from visiting them thereby congesting the few general and tertiary hospitals.
“Empowering primary healthcare means looking at the holistic perspective of the health system.
“It is looking at development, water and sanitation, immunisation from childhood diseases, HIV and AIDS, ventilated and improved pit latrines and even basic amenities.
“When all these things are not in place, then we cannot be talking about getting to zero level in HIV and AIDS.
“Effective primary healthcare is threatened in Nigeria, it is very sad because it’s the closest to the people,’’Anyanwu-Ikemba told NAN.
“So, it means that we have a serious situation on our hands because if the system is not strengthened, it is going reduce the vulnerability of people to HIV and AIDS.
“You remove primary healthcare, then we have a problem of achieving the dream of getting to zero new infections, getting to zero stigmatisation and discrimination.
“Our government needs to recognise primary healthcare as the cornerstone of the health system.’’
Anyanwu-Ikemba, however, advised the Federal Government to fund and strengthen primary healthcare centres in order to reduce the spread of HIV and AIDS.
According to her, if primary healthcare is strengthened and empowered, getting to zero in the spread of HIV and AIDS is assured.
NAN reports that Friends Africa Initiative is an African voice in the support of the Global Fund and the fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. (NAN)