The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says it will develop and unfold a template that will make Sokoto state an exemplar and fulcrum for the enhancement of primary health care (PHC) in the North-Western region of Nigeria.
This was disclosed by the UNICEF Country Representative, Mr Peter Hawkins, who led a team of two other health experts on a visit to Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state at the state’s liaison office in Abuja.
Governor Tambuwal on his part assured the UNICEF that with the huge technical and financial assistance being proposed for disbursement to various states, the efforts of the body will receive strong support from the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF).
In his capacity as the Deputy Chairman of the NGF, Tambuwal says they will :continue to do their best and work to see that the states buy-in into the program.
According to him, Nigerian governors are concerned about primary health care and the present leadership of the forum, the entire governors are ready to work with UNICEF
The UNICEF scored the governor and the state high on its performances in security, curbing the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthening primary health care and say they are looking forward to working closely with the state.
Mr. Hawkins says since last year, after a meeting with states in the Federation, UNICEF had mulled the idea of Sokoto state as part of its focal point of primary health care development in the Northern region and Nigeria.
According to a statement by the Governor Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Muhammad Bello, Governie Tambuwal, expressed appreciation to the body for all its assistance and cooperation now and into the future.
He says the negative statistics, in the health sector is the what push the government to come up with a blueprint to renovate dilapidated health structures, build new ones, including 3 premier 150-bed capacity general hospitals, the 950-bed capacity and the Sokoto State University Teaching Hospital (SOSUTH), and constructed a College of Health Sciences.
He says the state also employed about 100 medical doctors, sourcing of 200 youths to study medicine abroad, the establishment of an ICT backbone to keep a comprehensive record of all medical cases to be domiciled in the SOSUTH, the ongoing construction of a Diagnostic Center, which is almost completed and the construction of 2 Colleges of Nursing Sciences are all parts of efforts to correct the negatives around the healthcare delivery in the state.
On the issues raised by the UNICEF as posing challenges to effective health care delivery in the state- staffing of primary health care centers, availability of drugs and pharmaceuticals and training of staff, the governor sayd the state was aware and is working towards remedying them, especially with the engagement of about 1800 nurses and midwives.
In his remarks, a member of the UNICEF team, Dr. Abou Kampo, who says the team had inspected some health facilities in Sokoto state, and is satisfied with the state’s performances, hinted at the need to factor gender issues into healthcare delivery ones, “because this is important.”
He says the combination of facilities and community health workers need to be harnessed for the bigger picture to be clearer.