The Federal Government says Nigeria is losing about 2,500 children between age one and five everyday due to preventable causes.
Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed this in his remarks at the launch of a Community-based Health Research Innovative Training And Services Program, CRISP, organized by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, in Abuja.
Osinbajo said 80 per cent of these death burdens occurred at the primary health care and community levels.
He regretted that amongst the causes of infant deaths were lack of skilled birth attendants.
The Vice President said there was no better way to tackle the challenges of healthcare delivery in Nigeria than to close the gaps on the equitable availability of skilled health workers in the Primary Healthcare Centres.
“For this reason, I think there is no better way to tackle the challenges of health care delivery in Nigeria than to close the gaps on the equitable availability of skilled health workers in our PHC facilities.
“This can be achieved by a creative measure such as the CRISP. This is the Community-based health Research, Innovative Training and Services Programme.
“I am aware that Nigeria makes up only 2 per cent of the world population but accounts for 14 per cent of the world’s maternal death burden. Similarly, our country loses 2,500 children under the age of 5 everyday due to largely preventable causes, including the lack of services that skilled birth attendants could provide,” he said.
Osinbajo also stressed that deplorable health induces justified the need for urgent actions to be taken to implement the CRISP to address the situation.
“I can confidently tell you that President Muhammadu Buhari and I are ever passionate about interventions that would help to improve the health and wellbeing of the Nigerian people, and I have no doubt in the capacity of Dr Faisal and his team working in partnership with the academia and teaching hospital will implement and get the desired result from this initiative.
“This initiative will not only make skilled health workers from our teaching hospitals and federal medical centres available to offer services in our primary health care centres in all states of the federation but will also be leveraged to ensure capacity transfer to, and mentorship of PHC workers as well as promotion of best practices in community health.
“It is my belief that effective implementation of this initiative will help to fast track the attainment of universal health coverage as well as reduction in preventable maternal and child mortalities in Nigeria,” he said.
On his part, the Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said Nigeria was facing the challenges of gross inadequacy and inequity in the availability of human resource for health, especially skilled birth attendants such as Doctors, nurses, midwives, and Community Health Extension Workers, CHEWs, trained on Modified Life Saving Skills across primary healthcare facilities.
He said primary healthcare centres have remain unattractive to most of the country’s skilled workers, who prefer to provide services in the urban settings.
“So, aside the problems of gross inadequacy and inequitable distribution of our skilled healthcare workers, we are also facing the problem of their detrition from the PHC facilities,” he said.
In his remarks, the Country Director of the World Health Organisation, WHO, Dr. Walter Molumbo, said the plan to recruit health workers and deployed them to PHC facilities across the country was very commendable.
He added that WHO Nigeria would provide technical support to the CRISP of NPHCDA to enable it achieve its aims.