House Of Reps Calls For State Of Emergency On Primary Health Centre 

Daud Olatunji

The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the nation’s health system. 

This comes in response to the shocking revelation that only 20% of Primary Health Centers (PHCs) in the country are functional.

 The lawmakers also pressed for a significant increase in the health sector’s budget for the year 2024.

As disclosed by Fayinka Oluwatoyin, a member representing Mushin Federal Constituency II of Lagos State, Nigeria boasts approximately 39,983 hospitals and clinics as of 2020. 

Primary healthcare centers constitute a significant portion of this count, accounting for around 34,000, or 86%. 

However, alarmingly, only 20% of these PHCs are operational, and those in rural areas suffer from a severe lack of essential facilities and staff.

Moreover, reports have unveiled the startling statistic that over the past 11 years, a substantial 72% of the budgets allocated to the health sector were primarily spent on salaries and office administration. 

This alarming misallocation of resources has further exacerbated the already dire situation.

A study conducted by [Report Organization] in 2022 delved into the state of PHCs in 12 states across Nigeria’s various geopolitical zones.

 The findings painted an even grimmer picture, illustrating a far worse state of affairs in these vital healthcare facilities than initially reported by the lawmaker.

The motion tabled in the Chamber, titled “Need for the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency to collaborate with relevant health agencies in States and Local Governments to ensure the functionality of Primary Healthcare Centres,” highlights the various issues plaguing these centers. 

Lack of essential medical equipment, drugs, qualified personnel, consistent power supply, adequate beds, and road networks have contributed to a soaring death toll in these centers.

One critical issue raised is the discrepancy in the representation of primary healthcare centers by federal and state health ministries, which hampers accurate budgeting and access to quality healthcare in rural areas, subsequently leading to premature deaths.

In response to these pressing concerns, the House has made several resolutions. 

The Ministry of Health is urged to encourage states to initiate and revamp primary healthcare programs aimed at making PHCs more functional.

 This involves providing quality and affordable drugs to the masses and fostering collaboration among stakeholders at all government levels to establish a task force that addresses malpractices within PHCs.

This development aligns with President Bola Tinubu’s promise, made in July, to increase the annual budgetary allocation to the health sector, aiming for 10% of the nation’s total budget. 

As Nigeria grapples with the alarming state of its primary healthcare system, these measures serve as a crucial step toward addressing this long-standing crisis and improving access to quality healthcare for all citizens.

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