Former Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has said that Nigeria still has among the worst health indices on earth, regarding child, maternal and even road traffic accidents, mostly happening in rural areas with no health care, but plenty of ignorance, despite considerable expenditure on health.
He noted that to change things, steps must be taken to win the people’s trust, confidence and acceptance of government health interventions, in order to save lives and reduce illnesses.
Ehanire also stated that efforts were being made to build a partnership with the monarchs, whom he described as the custodians of community interest, to fast-track ways to promote health and prevent disease among the people, with scientifically-proven ways and means in modern health care.
Edo Governor, Godwin Obaseki, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the state’s Ministry of Health, Dr. Stanley Ehiarimwian, hailed the health minister, an Edo indigene, for making the state proud, while promising to support the newly-inaugurated SSTLC, so as to achieve its goals.
He said: “The intent is for our traditional fathers to meet quarterly, to receive updates on the status of primary health care in their states from the government, through NPHCDA; discuss their states best practices and challenges if any; share experiences on how best each state can improve the quality and uptake of immunisation services (polio, routine immunisation and COVID-19 vaccination), and other PHC services.
“The traditional institution in Nigeria has always played a pivotal role in all aspects of our social life. Our royal fathers are revered in our society, as custodians of our culture and traditions. Our people always look up to the traditional institution for guidance on critical decisions that affect their daily lives, including health matters.”
Shuaib also assured that the initiative would change the narrative of the health indices and improve the health of the people, particularly in the Southsouth zone, and Nigeria in general, by leveraging the great influence of the eminent monarchs.
Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, who was represented by the Obasogie of Benin, Chief George Ekhator, while also speaking, stated that health minister was full of vision and wisdom, while giving an assurance that Benin Kingdom would fully support the SSTLC initiative.
The Southsouth Zonal Director of NPHCDA, Dr. Josephine Obayagbona, earlier in her welcome address, described primary health care as the cornerstone of a healthy nation, since it was the first point of contact for individuals and families in accessing essential health services.
Obayagbona said: “As traditional leaders, you have long been at the forefront of community development and are intimately connected to the pulse of your people. Your influence and position provide a unique opportunity to drive positive change in the health sector.
“We gather to harness your leadership and wisdom in enhancing the delivery of primary health care services across the Southsouth zone. Your role in advocating and promoting the importance of primary health care cannot be overemphasized.
“Through your extensive networks and community engagement, we can reach even the most remote areas, ensuring that quality health care services are accessible to all.”
The Southsouth zonal director of NPHCDA also reiterated that the establishment of SSTLC marked a significant milestone in the collective journey towards improved health outcomes.
SOURCE: The Nation