By Amina Abdullahi Girbo
…………Reaffirms govt’s readiness to achieving universal healthcare coverage
The Bauchi State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Mohammed Auwal Jatau, Wednesday reaffirmed the readiness of the present administration towards strengthening the state’s primary healthcare system by expanding access to essential healthcare services in a bid to achieving universal healthcare coverage.
Auwal Jatau who is the chairman of the State Task Force on Primary Healthcare gave the assurance while declaring open, the 2023 annual retreat of the State Primary Healthcare held at Maidugu Guest palace in Gombe state and recalled that, the retreat is an annual activity planned under the Primary Health Care Memorandum of Understanding (PHC-MoU) arrangement to review performance, identify challenges and proffer solutions to PHC service delivery in the state.
The Deputy Governor also said that the retreat is aimed at supporting the administration to lay foundation for a strong and resilient healthcare system that is capable of meeting the diverse needs of the population, and noted that, it is through primary healthcare that universal health coverage can be achieved leaving no one behind.
“As you all know, the administration of our amiable governor, Sen. Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed CON, (Kauran Bauchi) has the people of Bauchi State at heart. This is evident on the strides the administration has made in strengthening our primary healthcare system by expanding access to essential healthcare services, particularly in rural areas.
“We have invested in the training and deployment of healthcare workers, ensuring that there is a skilled workforce available to deliver quality care. It may interest you to know that in the Health Sector, our administration has constructed, rehabilitated, upgraded, and equipped many health care facilities across the state to provide qualitative health care services, in addition to strengthen our Drug Revolving Fund to ensure the availability of affordable essential drugs, and other medical consumables.”
Auwal Jatau pointed out that, provision of qualitative health services will only be achieved with the availability of adequate Human Resource, hence the decision of Governor Bala Mohammed to recruit over 1,000 health workers across different cadres of the health profession with the re-introduction of the pre-service scheme.
He told the participants of the retreat that the Bauchi state government in its 2024 Budget, has maintained the allocation of the 15% of the State Budget to the Health Sector in line with the Abuja Declaration, and will continue to ensure timely release of the funds and therefore reiterated the Governor’s commitment towards the fulfillment of the government’s obligations of payment of all counterpart funds and financial arrangements with other government and non-governmental organizations.
“Unlike the previous retreat, this year, we have planned to conduct a holistic appraisal of the Primary Health Care Systems of the State. This is why the scope and participation have been expanded to include all stakeholders. In view of the prevailing public health challenges in the state, especially the outbreak of vaccine preventable diseases experienced this year, the theme for this year’s retreat is tagged “Towards Addressing the Menace of Vaccine Preventable Diseases in Bauchi State.
“The Objectives of this year’s Primary Health Care Retreat include reviewing the implementation status of the action points from the last year’s Retreat and the quarter 3, 2023 State Task Force meeting, to review the performance of the 2023 PHC Annual Operational Plan including financial burning rate, to present the 2024 PHC Annual Operational Plan for Review and Endorsement by State Task Force on Primary Health Care and to review the performance of Maternal and Child Health Services, especially the Strategies of reaching Immunization Zero-Dose Children To evaluate the achievements and challenges experienced during the implementation of the Human Papilloma Virus Mass Vaccination Campaign among others.
“At the end of the retreat, we are expected to achieve robust strategies for addressing challenges of Zero-Dose and other Maternal and Child Health Services uptake, robust Incidence Plan for Disease Surveillance and Outbreak Response and Sustainable Roadmap towards Improving Routine Immunization and periodic Mass Vaccination Campaigns among others.”
He once again called on stakeholders in the Health Sector at all levels to ensure the institutionalization of credible accountability framework on the utilization of all funds being invested in healthcare service provision, particularly at Primary Health Care Facilities as this is necessary for the improvement of access and utilization of health services for the attainment of Universal Health Coverage.
The Deputy Governor therefore appreciated development partners for their numerous support to the state and assured that as the Chairman of the State Task Force on Primary Healthcare, of government’s readiness of taking bold and decisive actions as well as promoting evidence-based policies and programs that address the root causes of health disparities.
In their seperate remarks, the State Commissioner of Health, Dr Adamu Sambo, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ali Babayo and the Executive Chairman of the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Rilwanu Mohammed appreciated the administration of Governor Bala Mohammed for prioritizing the health sector.