The Taraba state government under the leadership of governor Darius Dickson Ishaku, was said to have successfully upgraded no fewer than 97 health facilities in eight out of the sixteen Local Government Councils of the state to provide 24/7 Primary and Secondary health care services to communities before the closure of the Additional Fund-Nigeria State Health Investment Project (AF-NSHIP)
Executive Secretary of State Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA) Alhaji Aminu Hassan, who during the closure of the programme yesterday in Jalingo, took time to explain how the state was able to achieve this feat, urged stakeholders in the state to leverage on the opportunity and structures provided by the AF-NSHIP to improve the health of the people of the state.
Speaking at the project closure ceremony, he said that the facilities which comprised of nine General Hospitals and 88 Primary Health Care Centres, were located in Ardo-Kola, Bali, Gassol, Jalingo, Karim-Lamido, Takum, Wukari and Sardauna.
He explained that through the AF-NSHIP project, the achievements of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and the State Primary Health Care Development Board's mandates for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) have been greatly enhanced.
According to him, the concept of Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR) and One Primary Health Care per ward have also been enhanced to improve services at the grassroots.
"No doubt there has been highs and lows at one point or the other during the implementation but, we can all agree that it is one of the most fulfilling and impactful projects in Nigeria and Taraba State in particular.
" this is in terms of increasing access to health care (Immunization, Family Planning, Nutrition, Treatment of minor ailments, as well as Ante Natal Care and Post Natal Care) among others.
"This was achieved through improving the quality of care and strengthening the health system and reduction of maternal morbidity and mortality in the state", he said.
He explained that the average quality of the health facilities was raised from 8% at baseline to 89% presently, admonishing shareholders especially at the State and councils levels, to strive to ensure that the gains and lessons of the project endure and stand the test of time.
On his parts, the Commissioner of health Dr Innocent Vakkai said project has gone a long way to helped in poverty alleviation through multiplier effects as more than 700 staff were contracted to bridge the gap of human resource for health in the state.
In his word "The project also provided water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services to the community through renovation and restructuring of water system of the facilities especially borehole water system, adding that "Sanitation and hygiene was also enhanced by providing befitting waste management system for the facilities.
"The project stocked all the health facilities with adequate stock of drugs and all pharmacy infrastructures, full laboratory equipment, full maternity equipment, comfortable waiting area and so on.
NSHIP , as made known by him has as well "procured hospital equipment (60 hospital beds, 57 delivery beds and Examination Couch) for Non-NSHIP facilities in addition to mobile clinic vans for mobile health services to the communities" .
With a view to ensure sustainability of the gains of the project, Ishaku , as stated by him has approved the immediate implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, the 3.9 million dollars Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative (GAVI) and State Health Insurance Scheme.
By Charles Akpeji