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Ekiti aligns resources to strengthen infrastructure at PHC level, says health commissioner



Ekiti aligns resources to strengthen infrastructure at PHC level, says health commissioner

By Abujah Racheal

Dr Banji Filani, Ekiti State Health and Social Services Commissioner, said the state has aligned its resources to strengthen infrastructure at the primary health care level.

In an interview with Nigeria‘s news agency on Thursday in Abuja, Filani said the state had used part of the resources mobilized for the COVID-19 response in the state to set up a molecular laboratory and procure oxygen factories.

The resources, he said, were also used to purchase ventilators, facilitate the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as set up an intensive care center, which was still underway at the University Hospital of the state.

“Beyond the COVID-19 response, these infrastructural inputs have served the primary level of care as referral centers, which are essential in the health value chain.

“Risk communication is an essential pillar of the COVID-19 COE. Beyond the response, the State increased awareness of existing health facilities and services, thus increasing the use of services at the primary care level.

“The response to COVID-19 has also enabled us to better engage with private institutions to strengthen case detection.

“We had to train private clinics and equip them with RDTs to enable rapid identification of COVID cases in private hospitals,” he explained.

The health commissioner noted that the pandemic has highlighted the importance of infection prevention and control in healthcare facilities.

“By leveraging the pandemic response, we trained PHC staff on infection prevention and control (IPC).

“This allows them to quickly recognize, treat effectively and if necessary refer patients with infectious diseases while preventing the transmission of infection within the health facility and their immediate community,” he said. -he declares.

Filani described COVID-19 as being both a curse and a blessing.

“A curse in terms of all the losses we have suffered; relatives, colleagues, friends and also the socio-economic setbacks that have arisen since the start of the pandemic.

He said it had been a blessing because COVID-19 had caused the country to critically assess the readiness of its system for the inevitable public health events.

“It exposed the weaknesses of our system and, at the same time, allowed us to rebuild better by strengthening health security and service delivery,” he said.

The Commissioner also explained how the state has been able to meet the challenges of its delivery of PHC, ranging from human resources for health to funding and key interventions to improve its delivery.

“In September 2020, we conducted a diagnostic assessment to determine the factors of underperformance.

“Subsequently, a stakeholder retreat was organized to co-create solutions aimed at improving the performance of the health system and prioritizing a set of high impact interventions for immediate and long term implementation” , Filani said.

He identified three key strategic areas for building a resilient and sustainable health system, starting with “a forward-looking primary health care program as the foundation for universal health coverage.

“Improved stewardship and performance management, optimization and quality of service delivery and strengthening of health security.

“Our approach to immediate and long-term objectives was therefore motivated by interventions to be prioritized in the 3 strategic areas,” he added.

The Commissioner further stated that over the past year, the state has made significant progress in the delivery of PHC services.

“Thirty-seven health facilities have been renovated over the past year and the process of renovating 48 other CSPs is underway.

“At the start of the year, 12 tricycle ambulances were purchased, in addition to the 33 existing ambulances. These tricycles facilitate timely referrals from PHC to higher education institutions.

“In February 2021, medical equipment, such as birthing beds, scales, thermometers, sphygmomanometers, among others, were purchased and distributed to 48 PHC centers in the state.

“244 health workers have been retrained on the management of the Basic Health Care Fund (BHCPF),” he said.

According to him, the state has increased fiscal space for health and implemented high-impact interventions that have allowed us to exceed our ambitions.

“With clear direction, we engaged our colleagues in business and budget on how to increase the investment budget by 200% for the healthcare sector.

“We have also leveraged the additional resources of our partners, mobilizing nearly one billion naira in cash and in-kind as support to optimize service delivery in the state,” Filani also said.

He added that “despite tight budget space, however, more than 20 doctors have been recruited over the past year to support the delivery of quality services in primary and secondary health care facilities.

“A National Youth Services Corp (NYSC) Medical Fellowship was established, whereby physicians from the Corps were actively encouraged to work in rural settings in the state.

“So far, 99% of Corps physicians assigned in the state since the scholarship began have been retained, compared to an average retention of 50% over the past three years.

“We have posted nurses and midwives to senatorial areas, to ensure more equitable access to skilled health services in rural PHC, especially during childbirth.

“We recently trained 520 PHC agents, and more will be trained before the end of 2021,” he added.

In the meantime, there has been the deployment of key interventions, in addition to the use of data for performance management, decision making and course correction, and the institution of mechanisms for continuous improvement of performance. quality, he said.

“The deployment of EMR to improve data communication and minimize waste and leakage,” has also been put in place, he added. (www.)

Source: NAN

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