As 2020 draws to an end, experts have reiterated the fact that Nigeria’s Primary Health Care Centres (PHCs), the most basic port of care are still in a deplorable and dilapidated state lacking the most basic amenities.
Tunde Salman, Convener, Good Governance Team Nigeria (GGT), decried that less than 10 percent of over 30,000 primary health facilities in Nigeria are functional. He particularly deplored the fact that most of these facilities lack electricity and is for instance, forced to deliver live births with the aid of torchlights.
The Convener said this in Abuja at an event to celebrate the efforts of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and other stakeholders in energising the public health institutions during the Covid-19 pandemic, organised GGT and supported by Heinrich Boll Stiftung.
Salmon said the Covid-19 has shown the need to get all public health facilities electrified. According to him, the health infrastructure has three pillars which includes; infrastructure, human resources, and services, but said none of the pillars can function effectively without constant electricity.
Salmon further said some policies in the health sector such as the National Health Act, the BHCPF, the Strategic Health Development Plan 2, and several others needs to be reviewed to include issues of renewable electricity for health facilities. He reiterated the need for REAs to include PHCs in their Rural Electrification programmes.
Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, CEO REA, announced that there have been series of engagement among the REA, World Bank, Federal Ministry of Power, Health and the Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC), to energize 400 PHCs across the country.
Ahmad said since the beginning of the pandemic, the REA has deployed 4 solar mini grids to isolation centres in Gwagwalada in FCT, Ogun state and the NCDC laboratory in Lagos in a bid to support efforts of the government in containing the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also announced plans to scale up the intervention by energising 100 additional Covid-19 centres.