No fewer than 40 Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) across the country are to enjoy a N1billion upgrade courtesy MTN Foundation.
The project, in its fifth phase and tagged: ‘What We Can Do Together Initiative’, is urging members of the public to nominate PHCs in their various communities that are in need for an upgrade.
The nominations, which will close on June 17, are currently ongoing and there are two ways participants can nominate projects in the communities. These are via SMS and on the web. Participants using SMS can start by texting MTN to 421. The SMS platform is free for MTN subscribers. However, participants who have used their number on the SMS platform would not be able to use it on the web platform. This is to avoid duplication of nominations.
According to the Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, Mrs Odunayo Sanya, MTN Foundation does not assume that it knows what a community wants as many corporate bodies that have assumed they knew what a community needed at a point in time had built projects that ended up with little or no impact on the people.
At the unveiling of the project on Monday, in Lagos, Mrs Sanya said there are 30,000 PHCs in Nigeria, adding that less than 25 per cent of them are functioning.
She explained that in the fifth phase of the MTN “What We Can Do Together Project”, the Foundation has planned to upgrade and supply medical equipment and consumables to 40 PHCs such as installation of solar powered boreholes and solar powered hybrid solution in each PHCs.
From inception to date, Sanya said that MTN Foundation has invested about N25 billion in different projects, adding that, for the fifth phase of the project, the Foundation will be investing over N1 billion to ensure that Nigerians at the community level, have access to quality healthcare services.
She called on more corporate organisations to come into the space. “As we are doing this to impact lives, we are creating a playbook for others to come in as well. We are remodeling 40 PHCs today; another organisation can also come in by remodeling like 100 PHCs. In doing so, we will be making more impacts,” she stated.
The MD/CEO, Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, Dr Tinuola Akinbolagbe, applauded MTN Foundation for improving the health outcomes of Nigerians, while appealing to the organized private sector in Nigeria to follow suit.
The initiative’s success also involves the active participation of partners. For phase five, MTN Foundation is partnering with the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PSHAN) and the Cece Yara Foundation.
Adetutu Ajibodu, CEO of Cece Yara Foundation, who has engaged many families at the community level says there is no success without the engagement of the community.
“Carrying them along helps to own the initiative. MTN cannot be in a community forever. Cece Yara is big on collaboration. By gaining access to these communities we are able to help more people,” Ajibodu said.
After completing the initiatives MTN Foundation also monitors the utility by the community. In doing this, it offers the top five communities that are able to maintain and even improve the projects an award of additional furniture and training.
Belo-Olusoga said the projects are also targeted at primary health centres that charge a fee for their service. This is to ensure that the primary health centre has resources to maintain the facilities.