Group takes Advocacy To Anambra state Health Commissioner, Dr Obidike, seeks Partnership.

 Group takes Advocacy To Anambra state Health Commissioner, Dr Obidike, seeks Partnership.

By Ngozi Asonibe

Community Empowerment Network (COMEN) and her Civil Society Partners coordinated by the Justice Development and Peace Caritas(JDPC) Nnewi of the Catholic Diocese of Nnewi have engaged the Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr Afam Obidike for effective partnership with the new administration which is essential in promoting quality healthcare delivery in various communities on Friday, April 29, 2022 at Awka.

The group noted that Anambra State Government have shown commendable interest on improving healthcare system.

Citing that the essence of the visit was to build mutual understanding and trust with the Ministry of Health for improvement of the service delivery at the PHC Centers in Anambra.

The group further highlighted that the commendable improvements across PHCCs in the state would be reversed if the Basic Health Care Provision Fund(BHCPF) is not sustained and identified some of the challenges to include the need for the payment of counterpart Fund for Basic Health Care Provision Fund(BHCPF), which according to them is one of the essential requirements for states to access the BHCPF. 

It was established that the budget for payment of the counterpart fund that enabled the disbursement of the 1st tranche of the BHCPF to the state could not be traced to any account of the Health Agencies of the State Government and could thus be a one-off arrangement to reduce the pressure to kick start the programmes.

On Prioritization and Execution of PHC programme budgets, the group suggested that the new Administration should demonstrate a higher priority for improving the Primary Healthcare Programme by ensuring that LGs make budgets and the needed funds are released to LGs to support the primary healthcare programmes in their jurisdiction, which entail improving LG’s access and control of funds through the Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) account; improving the cash backing/management practices of LG staff; and strengthening oversight and accountability for the use of LG funds.

On addressing the underlying drivers of the poor performance of health sector budget, the group noted that the new administration should organize an inclusive and participatory stakeholders dialogue to identify the drivers of the credibility issues and develop proposals to address them, while calling on the state government to access block grants of the BHCPF implemented by the National Health Care Development Agency as provided in the National Health Act section 11(5) (a-c) for improving the overall financial investment for the PHC subsector.

Responding to the submission of the Advocacy group, the Anambra-state Commissioner for Health, Dr Obidike acknowledged them for working closely with the State Government over the years to bring improved healthcare delivery to Ndi Anambra and promised to sustain the partnership.

The Commissioner said the Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo is so passionate about the health of Ndi Anambra which is one of the five pillars in his manifesto.   

He noted that during his tour,  he instructed some of the PHCCs visited to fix their  tricycle ambulances, which would help improve primary healthcare services, especially during emergencies in the hard-to-reach areas of the state.

He assured that government of Prof Soludo will partner with Health Network of Partners and communities to ensure functionable health centers to enable people at the grassroots to have quality and accessible health care.

He assured them that the new administration is determined in ensuring that the health sector of Anambra State becomes the best in Nigeria and there are plans to reduce quakery in the health sector by establishing an Agency known as ' Health Facility, Monitoring and Accreditation Agency'.

He concluded by commending the efforts of the Group and welcomed any robust engagement with the Ministry of Health, the State Primary HealthCare Development Agency and the CSO Groups.


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