By Ushang Ewa
Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade says he has directed the immediate transfer of all Primary Health Care staff in the 18 local government areas to the Cross River Primary Health Care Development Agency following the conclusion of a staff audit which he approved.
Ayade stated this Monday, in Calabar during a meeting of key Primary Health Care stakeholders where he reiterated his administration’s commitment to ensuring the achievement of the Primary Health Care under one roof policy and the revitalization of the Primary Health system in the state.
This comes months after a CrossRiverWatch investigation revealed that there were no fewer than 4,000 ghost workers in the Primary Health System with the sector faced with a dearth of manpower as reported in April.
Represented by his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu, Ayade said that the government has already begun the implementation of the ‘One functional Primary Health Center per ward’ initiative with the full renovation of 5 Primary Health Centers and the placement of an effective leadership to drive the health sector with emphasis on Primary Health Care system.
Ayade also opined that wards with large land size and densely populated should have have two Primary Health Center hubs instead of one as stipulated in the One Primary Health Center per ward initiative.
On the availability of funds to drive the system, he said the Joint Allocation Committee account will not be able to contribute the 60% required by law but promised to remove every impediment in the delivery of Primary Health Care services to the over 70% of Cross River population living in communities including the release of more funds from those meant for Local Government Areas.
Also, Ayade who fumed at the continuous possession of Primary Health Care vehicles by chairmen of councils directed the list of the erring chairmen be sent to him for immediate action and adopted the UNICEF presentation on the system and directed that it forms part of the communiqué to be sent to him.
In her reaction, the Director General of the State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Betta Edu who was the host of the event, commended Governor Ayade for putting the Primary Health Care system as a priority thereby helping the state take the lead in the Primary Health Care revolution in Nigeria.
Betta who said the Governor has done well to place the state in an enviable position said that; “When I came on board in 2015 , I met a report from the National where Cross River scored 15% in the implementation of Primary Health Care Under One Roof and the 15% was only due to the former bill that was born with some congenital malformations. The percentage was achieved due to this malfunction.”
The representative of the Health Commissioner Inyang Asibong, Dr. Comfort Ekanem in her address at the event lauded the one Primary Heath Center per ward initiative pointing out that the Primary Health System remains the entry point to the healthcare system of the community. She advocated for more community participation in every process leading to full revitalization of Primary Health Care in the state.
Earlier, the UNICEF consultant for the event, Dr. Ifeanyinwa Anyanyo commended the Cross River State government for “achieving a lot within a year” and pointed out some useful recommendations that will aid the agency grow to ensure an efficient healthcare system in the state.
The development according to CrossRiverWatch health editor means that “The forces in the unified local government system will lose again following the movement of teacher’s salary payment to the State Universal Basic Education Board earlier this year.
“The development will help position the state to access the funds stipulated in the National Primary Health Act which is one percent of the country’s GDP as well as the USD1.5million World Bank facility which will go a long way in making the system which has over 1,000 facilities more efficient if the finances are judiciously utilized.”
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