Niger State Deputy Governor and Chairman of the State Primary Health Care Development Agency Governing Board, Ahmed Mohammed Ketso.

 By Our Correspondent

Staff of Primary Health Care and their salaries have been transferred from the Niger State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to the state’s Primary Health Care Development Agency.

The State Deputy Governor and Chairman of the State’s Primary Health Care Development Agency Governing Board disclosed this at the opening of a 3-day capacity building retreat for members of the governing board which took place at Ibeto Hotel, Abuja, yesterday.

A press statement signed by the chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor, Hajiya Maimuna Kolo said that the deputy governor hinted that payment of salaries to staff of all Primary Health Care centres by the Primary Health Care Development agency is to commence this month (October), in order to reduce fragmentation in the management and governance of the PHC system and to ensure full autonomy of the SPHCD as a self accounting entity.

The deputy governor added that the move which several administrations in the past could not achieve was also targeted at enabling the Primary Health Care Development Agency to conduct an entire PHC workforce, identify the human resource gaps and conduct redistribution where necessary which will in turn ensure equitable distribution of health workforce across the state as well as translate into equitable and qualitative service delivery to all Nigerlites regardless of geographic locations.

Ahmed Ketso also hinted that the state under the able leadership of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello made a two years advance payment for the Basic Health Care provision fund (BHCPF) aimed at revitalising at least one functional Primary Health Care Centre per Ward towards achieving the Universal Health Coverage adding that the state has established the State Health Insurance Scheme by name (Nicare) in a bid to remove financial barriers from accessing quality health care.

The scheme according to him not only focuses on formal sector like the National Health Care Insurance Scheme, but on all categories of Nigerlites so they can access health care based on their needs. 

Ketso then called on both leadership of the Ministry of Health and the State Primary Health Care Development Agency to remain resolute and focused for more successes. He prayed that the knowledge gained from capacity building retreat be put into use by the board members to further advance and contribute towards qualitative health care service delivery for all.

In his remark at the opening of the retreat, Niger State Commissioner of Health, Dr Muhammad Muhammad Makusidi described the retreat as timely and apt as it will consolidate the state’s roadmap in post covid-19 recovery; adding that despite the adverse effects of the pandemic, the state under Governor Abubakar Sani Bello learnt great lessons including the relevance of local contents by being innovative and creative especially by reinventing local masks, ventilators, hand washing equipment and production of consumables among others.

Makusidi added that even at the peak of the pandemic the state government was able to put in place a strategic development document and emergency preparedness and construction of multi-purpose medical laboratory which is a grade three biolaboratoty that is capable of testing all diseases with the exception of Anthrax.

Speaking separately at the retreat, the Executive Director of the Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Ibrahim Dangana and State’s Chairman, Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) Niger State, Ibrahim Abubakar Lalalo described the meeting as interesting and vital as it will go a long way in availing members the opportunity to get acquainted with the functions of Public Sector Boards, structures and activities of each department of the agency, grasp powers and functions of the governing board and financial provisions among many others.

Resource persons at the retreat were drawn from the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON).