ENSG releases N100m counterpart for Basic Health Care Provision Fund



The Enugu State Government has paid its N100 million counterpart fund for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) to enable the state benefit from the initiative.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the BHCPF, is one per cent of the Federal Government Consolidated Revenue and contributions from donor grants.

The Fund, which was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on Jan. 8, had been set aside to fund the basic health needs of Nigerians.

Dr George Ugwu, the Executive Secretary of Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA), disclosed this to NAN on Saturday in Enugu.

According to him, the Enugu State has passed into Law the State Health Sector Reform Law, 2017, No. 7, which established ENS-PHCDA.

“The Executive Governor of Enugu State, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has in addition released N100 million Government Counterpart Contribution required as part of the conditions for Enugu State to benefit from the BHCPF Fund.

“This is a demonstration of Ugwuanyi’s passion and commitment toward providing health democracy dividend to the people of the state and in fulfillment of part of his campaign promises,’’ he said.

Ugwu said that the government had upgraded and renovated three Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs), one in each of the three senatorial zones of the state, as a model of public PHC under the Ward Health System.

He said that the state had selected one PHC facility in each of the 291 wards in the state for renovation and upgrading in line with new order and to enable them provide quality and affordable healthcare to the people.

The executive secretary said: “the Federal Ministry of Health, through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, is being awaited for an assessment of the selected PHCs.

“This is in order to ascertain their gaps in Human and institutional capacity, including but not limited to Human Resources for Health (HRH), medical equipment, drugs and other medical supplies, Health Management Information System and physical infrastructure which will pave way for a comprehensive intervention and overhaul.’’

NAN reports that BHCPF is the fundamental funding provision under the National Health Act and was appropriated for the first time in the 2018 budget since the Act was signed in 2014.

The Federal Government earmarked N55.1 billion from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) to the basket fund of the BHCPF, while the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation contributed two million dollars, out of which  1.5 million dollars have been released.

The Global Financing Facility (GFF) has also committed 20 million dollars to the fund, while the Department for International Development (DFID) is also putting 50 million pounds sterling over the next five years.

The fund is expected to help revive the health sector, especially PHC centres many of which have been abandoned across the country.

Edited By: Ese E. Ekama

General news

FG inaugurates committee for localisation of humanitarian responses



The Federal Government has inaugurated a 128-member committee to drive the National Localisation Framework and ensure effective and efficient humanitarian response in the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the members of the committee were picked from different Non-Governmental Organisations, Civil Society Organisations and other government donors and partners from the six geo-political zones of the country.

Mrs Olusola Idowu, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, who inaugurated the Localisation Working Group (LWG), on Wednesday in Abuja, charged them to ensure their activities were locally driven to foster development.

Idowu, represented by Mrs Elizabeth Egharevba, Director, International Cooperation, said the government was already collaborating with donors, development partners as well as local and international non-governmental organisations to ensure operational change for humanitarian response in the country.

“With the current humanitarian crisis facing the country and influx of international organisations supporting us, localisation agenda has become imperative and provides the unique opportunity for the nexus of humanitarian, peace building and development efforts.

“You will recall that during the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, the Grand Bargain on improving humanitarian efficiency and effectiveness was launched and was subsequently endorsed by more than 50 donors and aid organisations.

“Ten work streams commitments were agreed to lead the work and in a bid to operationalise these commitments, the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), supported the implementation of Accelerating Localisation Through Partnership (ALTP), programme in four countries.

“The programme was activated in Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria and South Sudan by a consortium of Christian Aid (as the lead), CARE, Tearfund, ActionAid, CAFOD and Oxfam.

“The programme aims to accelerate localisation through the strengthening of local and national leadership of humanitarian response; it focuses on operational change for humanitarian response over the identified time frame and beyond,” Idowu said.

The permanent secretary added that on the long run, the programme was expected to help identify capacity, funding and coordination needs of local and national NGOs as well as proffer solutions to the identified gaps.

Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, represented by Mr Charles Anaelo, a Deputy Director in the ministry,  said government was doing everything possible to ensure sustainability.

“It is important to note that the ministry focuses at ensuring grassroots mobilisation so that the response will get to all nooks and crannies.

“This programme is not focused on a specific area or geopolitical zone of crisis, but every aspect of Nigeria where there are humanitarian issues.

“We believe that this platform being set up is one of the veritable ways of creating strategic roadmap for exit plan for international partners and donors so that, with or without them,  we will have a framework of operation.

“Under the ministry, we have NEMA, we have Refugees Commission, NAPTIP and SDGs, but beyond that in terms of information, we are collaborating with the National Orientation Agency in all the LGAs in the country to ensure proper mobilisation.

“So, we are coordinating other partners and key stakeholders to ensure we deliver as one and the sustainability depends on government apparatus and administrative process and that is why partnership and collaboration is key to sustainability,” Farouq said.

Mrs Mimidoo Achakpa, Coordinator, Women in Humanitarian Response in Nigeria Initiative, who spoke on behalf of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), said they had been working on the programme for two years now.

“For us as CSOs, we have embraced the localisation agenda in Nigeria and on behalf of my colleagues in other geopolitical zones represented in the LWG we are going to domesticate this localisation agenda.

“For every activity that we plant, we must ensure that localisation agenda will definitely be part of the activities and we will spread the word in different networks we have because localisation cuts across every sphere of life, not only humanitarian,” she said.

NAN also reports that a document containing the operational framework for local and international NGOs in the country was also unveiled at the programme.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
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Millions of Syrians go to sleep hungry: aid organizations




A staggering 9.3 million Syrians are now going to sleep hungry and more another two million are at risk of a similar fate, international NGOs said in a joint statement Monday.

Signed by the Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam, CARE, Mercy Corps, and others, the statement warned that “Syrians who have already endured almost a decade of war and displacement are now facing unprecedented levels of hunger leaving millions of people acutely vulnerable to COVID-19.”

“COVID-19 restrictions, the collapse of the Syrian pound, and the displacement of millions of people have led to an unprecedented number of families in Syria who are no longer able to put food on the table,” it said.

The statement said the number of Syrians facing food insecurities has risen by 42 percent since last year.

It noted that “unless funding and humanitarian access are increased, many Syrians, including those living as refugees in the region, will be pushed to the brink of starvation.”

The statement further said that after nine years of war in Syria, the Syrians have been thrown into a spiral of despair and destruction that worsens every year.

“International assistance is needed now more than ever,” it said.

Separately, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Monday that 80 percent of Syrians survive on less than 1.25 United States dollars a day, adding that the price of bread doubled in a few weeks.

It further said that 50 percent of Syrians don’t have enough food to eat every day.

The Syrian war has been dragging on for over nine years, killing more than 380,000 people and displacing nearly half of the pre-war population of 23 million Syrians either internally or externally.

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Gombe govt. constructs 12-bed Intensive Care Unit



The Gombe State Government has constructed and equipped a 12-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at its Specialist Hospital, Dr Ahmed Gana, the state’s Commissioner for Health, has said.

Gana said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Gombe on Friday while giving an account of Gov. Inuwa Yahaya’s stewardship in the health sector within one year in office.

According to him, the decision to construct the ICU was informed by the recommendations of a  task force on health which was inaugurated by the governor to identify the challenges in the sector as well as solutions.

He said prior to the construction of the ICU unit, patients were being referred to the Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe.

Gana said the health sector under the Yahaya administration was accorded the highest priority in terms of intervention.

The commissioner said prior to the advent of the Yahaya administration, the health sector was in a state of decay, with the general hospitals across the state on the verge of collapse.

He said the Specialist Hospital, the premier health facility, also had its own challenges, although “90 per cent” had now been addressed in terms of equipment and expansion to meet demand.

Gana said within one year in office, the Accident, Emergency and Trauma Unit of the Specialist Hospital was demolished and reconstructed while the Maternity Ward was expanded and laboratories equipped.

He said digital X-ray machines were equally procured for the first time in the history of the state while a transit camp for the training of house officers was at the level of completion.

The commissioner also disclosed that the Medical and Dental Council would soon be visiting the state, preparatory to commencement of training of house officers.

The commissioner further said the governor facilitated relationships with international organisations to fund health activities in the state.

He said in the area of primary health care delivery, 114 primary health care facilities were identified across the 114 wards in the state and equipped for optimum service to the people at the grassroots.

Gana said allocating 10 per cent of the 2020 total budget was a clear indication that the governor had prioritised the health sector.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that in January, Yahaya signed three bills into law in a bid to reposition the health sector for easy accessibility and affordability to a greater majority of the people in the state.

NAN reports that the bills earlier passed by the state House of Assembly included the Gombe State Management Board Law 2019 and Gombe State Contributory Healthcare Management Law, 2019.

Also passed was the Gombe State Council on Public Procurement and Public Procurement Bureau Law, 2019.

Edited By: Hawa Lawal/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)
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Lagos assesses functionality of 329 Primary Health Care centres



The Lagos State Government says it has carried out a comprehensive assessment of no fewer than 329 Primary Health Care centres (PHCs), to ascertain their functionality.

The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi disclosed this on Wednesday, at a Ministerial Press Briefing to commemorate Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led administration’s first year in office.

Abayomi said that the assessment was part of efforts geared toward the revitalisation of the Primary Health Care System in Lagos State.

He said that the assessment focused on the level of functionality and geographical positioning system of the PHCs, to identify gaps for service improvement efforts.

Abayomi said that the comprehensive assessment was carried out in collaboration with two non-governmental organisations —  Health Assist and PharmAccess Foundation — to improve the quality of service delivery at PHCs across the state.

The commissioner said that with the assessment, the key areas of focus of PHC revitalisation would include Infrastructural Upgrade, Data Management, Operational Cost, Power Supply, Water Supply and Drug Supply.

He said that the revitalisation would also cover Sewage Management, Staffing and immunisation Programmes.

The commissioner also listed Bridging Communication gap between the Ministry of Health, Local Government and Primary Healthcare Board, Facility Management and Monitoring, Financing Mechanism, Insurance Scheme among other areas.

According to him, these are issues that have constituted challenge for the third tier of health care delivery, which must be addressed.

”We are not unmindful of the challenges facing Primary Health Care System.

“This is the reason why we embarked on the assessment exercise as part of our plan to effect major and lasting transformations that will make access to healthcare facilities at the grassroots hitch free.

”Equipped with knowledge of identified gaps, the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the last one year embarked on the construction and renovation of 39 primary healthcare centres across all 57 local government and local council development areas to bridge the gaps.

”Twenty-three of these PHCs are completed and ready for commissioning while others are at various stages of completion,” he said.

Abayomi said that in collaboration with Rotary International, the Sanwo-Olu-led administration had constructed and delivered five Medical Portakabins to five PHCs, as part of its infrastructural upgrade drive for improved service delivery.

The commissioner called for more synergy between the State Ministry of Health, the Local government authorities and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to have a robust and viable service delivery at the PHC level.

According to him, it will only amount to an exercise in futility if all stakeholders work at variance.

Abayomi said that the primary health care was the bedrock of any health care system.

”It is because the challenges confronting this level of health care system are not adequately addressed, that is why the secondary and tertiary levels of care are overwhelmed,” he said.

The commissioner said that the increased investment in the health sector in the last one year covering infrastructure, human resource for health, disease control, use of technology and innovation, coupled with the implementation of the Lagos State Health Scheme affirmed the commitment of Gov. Sanwo-Olu– led administration to the attainment of the universal health coverage.

Abayomi said that good health and wellbeing of residents remained an enormous agenda that the present administration would vigorously pursue.

Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)
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