FG to launch free healthcare programme in Niger Delta – Minister

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Usani, says the Federal Government will soon embark on a free healthcare intervention scheme in the nine oil producing states as from next month.

The minister made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Monday in Abuja.

He said that the programme would be executed by his ministry in collaboration with the National Association of Urologists.

Mr. Usani said the essence of the health programme was for the people to know their health status with a view to promoting healthy living.

“This intervention is expected to diagnose and offer first hand treatment to persons with terminal ailments and common health challenges,’’ the minister said.

He said that the programme was being organised for the people in acknowledgement of the region’s immense contributions to the nation’s economic development.

The minister said that the ministry and National Association of Urologists would bear the cost, and the programme would cover treatment of all kinds.

Although, he did not disclose the centres, he, however said that people in the remote areas would not be left out.

“It is the responsibility of the ministry to bring qualitative health services to the doorstep of the people in the mandated areas.

“It is therefore set to facilitate proper arrangement for the realisation of the programme.

“Our target covers those with minor and severe ailments because health is wealth,” Mr. Usani said.

The ministry had collaborated with the Association of Nigerian Neurosurgeons earlier for free test on Malaria, Blood Pressure, Diabetes, HIV and free drug administration programme for the people of the region.


Source: Premium Times

Buhari Flags Off Primary Health Care Revitalisation Programme

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has flagged off the Primary Health Care Revitalisation Programme, with the commissioning of the Kuchigoro Primary Health Care Centre.

The center in a suburb if the nation’s capital is designed to provide Model Primary Health Care.

“Our goal of revitalising the Primary Health Care Centres is to ensure that quality basic health care services are delivered to majority of Nigerians irrespective of their location in the country.

“We shall focus more on the people living in the rural areas and the vulnerable population in our society such as women, children under 5years of age and the elderly in collaboration with national and international partners.

“Let me state clearly, that this revitalisation programme is in alignment with the agenda of our party, the All Progressive Congress (APC). We did promise to provide succor to the poor while at the same time providing for all other segments of the society,” he stated.

On other effort of the government to revitalise the nation’s health sector, the President said: “I am aware that out of pocket payment for health constitute over 70% of total health expenditure. This is more than the globally recommended 30-40%. However, only less than 5% of the total population is covered by any kind of health insurance or risk protection mechanism which is against the recommended 90% coverage by the World Health Organisation.

“Our vision is to reverse this unsatisfactory situation and better care for the poor and needy”.

During campaigns, the All Progressives Congress, the president’s political party, promised to revitalise one Primary Health Care Centre in each of the political wards in Nigeria.

“So far, we have commenced the revitalisation of one Primary Health Care in each senatorial zone in the country.

“Our vision is to revitalise 10,000 Primary Health Care Facilities in Nigeria using a phased approach. The first phase of this approach is what we are flagging off today. It will signal the revitalization of the first 109 Primary Health Care facilities across the 36 states and the FCT.

“Kuchigoro Primary Health Care Centre has been renovated as a model primary health care centre where quality health care services will be obtained at little or no cost to the beneficiaries”, the President told the gathering.

The revitalisation was handled by the Government (Federal Ministry of Health, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Federal Capital Development Administration and the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital) and Partners such as General Electric and Sterling Bank.

President Buhari assured Nigerians that the government would continue to ensure that they have access to quality basic health care services.

“Accordingly, the provision in the National Health Act, 2014 for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund is in the process of being implemented. I also assure my fellow countrymen and women that our Administration will fulfill all the promises made to the people.

“The provision of quality health care service will reverse the poor health indices in the country.

“I am hopeful that our women will no more be dying needlessly during childbirth; our children will no more be dying needlessly as a result of vaccine preventable diseases or common ailment; access to health care will not be limited because of lack of money to pay,” he assured Nigerians.

The president also commended the Honourable Minister of Health and his team for ensuring the flag off of the programme and called on all our state governors to see the programme as a call to action to make revitalisation of Primary Health Care Centres a vital part of their agenda.

“Our Government has also through the Saving One Million Lives Initiative, provided 1.5 Million USD to each state government and FCT to ensure quality health care to women and children.

“I want to thank our development partners especially, the United States Government, the World Bank, the European Union and Department For International Development for supporting the health sector in providing quality health service to our people.

“I want to also thank our National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Sterling Bank and General Electric for the renovation and provision of the necessary equipment including an ambulance at Kuchigoro Primary Health Care Centre. We have set up an accountability mechanism to ensure that this Primary Health Care Facility remains functional.

“I want to use this opportunity to call on all stakeholders to ensure that this facility continues to work optimally by using it and ensuring that the health professionals are delivering quality services.

“Health Workers should also play their parts in ensuring the sustainability of this model Primary Health Care,” emphasising that their dedication to their duties would add impetus to healthcare delivery in Nigeria.

Aregbesola Liases With Herbalists To Promote Indigenous Healing Systems

Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, has assured herbalists of his willingness to promote indigenous means of healing, with the inauguration of the Board of Traditional Medicine in the state.

At the inauguration, Aregbesola said traditional medicine has been of tremendous assistance to the black race.

The governor who was represented by Dr. Rafiu Kusamotu, said the state government would assist the herbalists in standardizing their practice in the interest of the well-being of the people of the state.

Aregbesola charged the herbalists on proper hygiene in the preparation of herbs that are meant for human consumption so as to prevent avoidable disease.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Akinyinka Esho, said the selection of members of the board was based on merit and he called for the cooperation of the herbalists.

Chairman of the board, Chief Kayode Esuleke, told his colleagues to pay the sum of 5,000 Naira as practicing fees, as stipulated by the state government so as to obtain the license to operate.

He then warned members of the Traditional Medicine Association to always abide by the code and guidelines of the profession.

Healthcare: Reps ask NHIS to halt payment to HMOs

The House of Representatives on Thursday called on the National Health Insurance, NHIS, to put on hold further quarterly release of funds to the Health Maintenance Organisations, HMOs, pending the outcome of investigation.

The House also mandated its Committee on Health Care Services to commence investigation into the activities of the HMOs and healthcare providers for the past eight years.

This is with a view to identifying their level of compliance with the relevant provisions of the Act and determine the reasons for the alleged poor state of services to the enrolees.

The resolutions of the House followed the adoption of a motion on the urgent need to investigate the compliance rate of funds by the healthcare providers and inhuman treatment of enrolees, moved by Chike Okafor (APC-Imo).

Leading the debate, Mr. Okafor noted that the NHIS was set up to provide health care for Nigerians at affordable cost through various pre-payment systems.

The lawmaker also noted that one of the cardinal responsibilities of the scheme was to maintain high health care standard to beneficiaries.

He expressed dismay that enrolees were being short changed and used as conduit pipes to raise money for the HMO’s and healthcare providers.

The lawmaker said, “Enrolees are treated like lepers while trying to access the services; many strategies have been adopted by healthcare providers and HMOs to deprive them their right to quality treatment and attention.”

Mr. Okafor claimed that the HMOs had received over N351 billion from the scheme since its inception in 2005.

“It is regrettable to realize that the service covers less than four per cent of Nigerians and there are reports of alleged diversion of contributions amounting to billions of naira.’’

He further revealed that the scheme paid HMOs three months upfront to enable them provide timely and qualitative health care services to enrolees.

The lawmaker, however, noted that ”the reverse is the case as enrolees are being short changed and the services remain poor.

The Committee on Health Care Services is expected to report its findings to the House within four weeks.

Dodgy Doctors: There Is No Cost To Life By Alex Abutu

Aisha Yusuf, a resident of Angwar, Kaduna State, lost her sister due to complications during child delivery in a local hospital operated by a quack.

The death, according to Aisha, was devastating to the entire family because she was the breadwinner and responsible for all their needs.

The ‘doctor’ who operated the hospital vanished as soon as family members threatened to report him to the police.

The experience of the Yusufs changed their perception towards the medical profession.

“Since my sister’s death, we have decided as a family never to visit any hospital again for delivery because they will only kill you,” Aisha said.

Like Aisha, many other women in Nigeria now patronize traditional birth attendants (TBAs) due to lack of faith or trust in medical doctors, which has overwhelmed such attendants.

One of the TBAs, Mama Femi, now operates a full-fledged hospital in Maraba, a suburb of Abuja, where all kinds of illnesses are treated. According to her, women who come to her place feel at home and never experience complications.

This accounts for why Mama Yara, a Kaduna-based TBA, said she encouraged women to stop going to hospitals to give birth, and her reason is simple: “Doctors are no longer trustworthy; they are not knowledgeable and most of them are inexperienced and not qualified.”

She attributed the growing rate of infertility among married women to harm done to them by fake ‘doctors.’

As the quacks increase their scope of influence, Nigerians are daily being discouraged from patronizing certified medical centers and hospitals. This is not only because of the cost of treatment, but as a result of the deadly practices of quacks.

The fraudulent doctor situation is especially dangerous for a country like Nigeria due to its poor doctor-to-patient ratio, according to Charles Ameh, a public affairs analyst.

According to the World Health Organization, the ratio of doctors to patients in Nigeria is 1 to 3500, a condition described as critical and currently made worse by the citizenry’s growing distrust of medical practitioners.

The Bureau of Statistics and the federal Ministry of Health, however, have no records or data on the operations of quacks in the country or the number of quacks operating illegal hospitals.

The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) noted that “there is no documented evidence as to the estimate of quacks as at today, but statistical data collection is ongoing. The sample size for now is small and the survey is still ongoing. There are no specific areas susceptible to quacks, as they operate both in rural and urban area alike. But by an unscientific assessment, they are more likely to be found in urban areas where they cannot be easily identified and people have money to pay.”

Furthermore, the government does not know how much money is wasted each year on imposter doctors’ salaries and the damage they inflict on their victims. Apart from the few identified quacks drawing salaries and allowances from government institutions and hospitals where there work, it is difficult to conclusively state the costs and implications of quackery on the government and people of Nigeria.

“We have not been able to ascertain costs associated with the practice of quacks in the country mainly because there is no database where their operations are documented,” Dr. Henry Okwuokenye, head of the inspectorate unit at the MDCN, said in an interview.

Dr. Joseph Ojobi, a consultant physician with the Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, Benue State, said quantifying the cost of quackery in the country would be very difficult.

“It is difficult to quantify or put a cost to one’s life. How can you calculate the emotional feelings that people related to victims suffer or how much is a life worth?” he said.

Dr. Sylvanus Okpe, an associate professor with the Jos University Teaching Hospital, said that calculating the costs of the activities of quacks could come in different forms.

“You have to first of all look at the amount the victims spend on obtaining the services or treatment from the quacks. If the treatment leads to permanent damages, how much will you say that amounts to? And if the person dies, how much will you put the value for that person’s life?”

Dr. Okpe added that it would be difficult to accurately ascertain the costs burdened on the families of quacks’ victims.

“Assuming the victim is the breadwinner, how will you know the cost of the sufferings that those depending on him will incur?” he said.

While the financial cost associated with medical quackery is difficult to determine, the social cost is clear, as the number of lives lost across Nigeria due to medical malpractice is dangerously high.


If you are a medical professional, and know you should be on the MDCN registry but have not found your name, you can report your concern to them here: registration@mdcn.gov.ng or info@mdcn.gov.ng

Government Should Scale-Up Primary Health Care Service Delivery Nationwide – CODE

A leading NGO Connected development [CODE] has called on government at all level to take up one of its responsibilities by ensuring proper facilities are put in place in various primary health care centers in Nigeria.

Following the release of $1.5million dollars from World Bank to the 36 states respectively including the Federal Capital Territory as part of the World Bank supported “Save One million Lives” the Follow the Money team of CODE visited 6 states respectively to assess the state of the PHCs to track the implementation of these funds. These states are AkwaIbom, Enugu, Kano, Kogi and Yobe.

Findings from the field visit to each of the states are rather appalling as most of the Primary Health Centres are facing several reprehensible and elementary challenges. Generically, most of them have no improved water supply, electricity, security, quarters for hospital staffers; there is no stationed doctor; and the toilet facilities are in a mess. Furthermore, because of these challenges, the PHCs do not operate 24/7, cannot admit or treat sick people and lack sufficient tables & chairs.


This in return made Follow the Money team comes up with advocacy hashtags representing various local governments in each state’s.

Some key Findings:

In Kano

Follow The money team visited Kantudu in Makoda LGA of Kano State. They found out that the PHC serves 2,500 people, all coming from 13 surrounding villages. The PHC was built 5-6 years ago as a senatorial project in Makoda LGA. The PHC has one male and female ward, which are not presently functioning. There are only three staffers with one community health worker who are not certified health professionals.

During the interactive section with the head of community Alhaji Muhammad Musa, and the community association said that they have reached out to the government of Kano twice on the state of the health center in Kantudu, but there was no response. “We hope this campaign with ONE and CODE will make the government of Kano to look at the plight of our health center, so that our people can start using it” says Malam Ali, the medical head at the PHC.


In Yobe State

We were in Lantenwa, Yobe where a Primary Health Care is in a messy situation. The PHC in Lantenwa is in Lantewa village, Lantewa ward, Tarmuwa LGA. It serves a population of 13,400 under 5 yrs; 10-15 patients daily, 70-105 weekly. Speaking to the head commnity ,AuduLantewa, mentioned that the dispensary has been dilapidated for more than 7 yrs, he added that dispensary situation is critical and he personally reported the issue to local authorities several times. He further lamented that “Lantewa is the gathering center of four neighboring with approximately 7,000 registered voters, as such we should get better things from the government” he said.


In Kogi State

We went to the PHC to find out if the implementation of the fund is ongoing as well as to track the implementation of the N10.5 million earmarked by the National Primary Health care Development Agency for the rehabilitation of the PHC. On reaching there, there was no such intervention taking place. The Officer in Charge (OIC) said it was the first time she was hearing of such. The village head whom we paid a courtesy visit to also said he has never heard of such. We then went to the Operational Base of the NsitIbom LGA’s Health Centres and the Director of the base told us that she has never heard of such fund for the PHC’s rehabilitation


In Osun State

Our team went on ground to track the $1.5m earmarked by the World Bank and the Federal Government of Nigeria for the Saving One Million Lives Initiative and all we could see while on the field is nothing to write home about. From our findings, the facility is meant to serve 11 villages which are: Gboore, Alajue-Logun, Asunmo, Ayegbami, Agbopa, Jagun-Odomu, Olodan, Aladie, Amosun, Seesa, Akiribiti amongst others. In total, the target population which the facility is meant to serve is 12,498. 498 of the population are children less than one year, the Primary Health Care Centre has a monthly target of 42 patients, but it end up serving more than 400 on an average.

Consequently, a Freedom of Information letters was sent to the concerned government institutions and offices for a breakdown of the funds usage, implementation window and respective contractors, especially the governmental institutions concerned, to instantaneously start the implementation of these funds, ensure transparency & accountability in the funds’ implementation, and make government data open in line with the Open Government Partnership.

Follow The Money is a growing movement currently in 32 states of the country, held community outreaches to 10 primary health facilities in Kano, Yobe, osun, and found out that all were in a state of dysfunction, even with the funds that have been released to the states to upgrade the primary health care “Most of the head of clinic at the PHC in the 5 that I visited were in an abandoned state, lacks basic healthcare amenities and needs urgent attention to serve people at local communities.” affirmed HamzatLawal, CODE’s Chief Executive & Co-Founder, Follow The Money.   

He stressed that annually; Nigeria loses over 99% children below the age of 5 due to dilapidated healthcare services and urges government actions to serve the people by improving better service delivery while ensuring transparency and accountability.