Only 10% of PHCs in Nigeria are functioning.

Mamora: Only 10% of PHCs in Nigeria Are Functional

According to Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, the Minister of Science and Technology, only 10 percent of the 30,000 primary healthcare centres (PHCs) across the states of the federation are fully functional and operational.

Mamora, who was also the former Minister of State for Health, admitted that a lot of professionals were “no longer satisfied with socio-economic and political situations in the country, hence forcing them to emigrate massively in search of golden fleeces.”

He gave these figures at a session with journalists in Lagos recently, revealing that there were 30,000 primary healthcare centres across all the states of the federation.

With this figure, however, the minister further revealed that less than 10 per cent of the PHCs “are functional and operational due to multiple factors including dilapidated buildings and acute deficit of medical equipment.”

“When I was the Minister of State for Health, we could establish 30,000 primary healthcare centres through the last audit that we had across the federation. But less than 10 per cent of the primary healthcare centres are functional,” he stated.

“The centres are not functional, either the buildings have become dilapidated or they cannot be accessed. When we talk about functionality, it entails an uninterrupted power supply, but it is not stable. It also entails a constant water supply, but it is not available. It equally involves medical personnel, but they are not adequate,” he added.

“If primary healthcare centres do not have all these facilities, they cannot render any services. What are these services? It includes ante-natal care. One of the reasons we had infant and maternal mortality is due to poor access to ante-natal care. Immunisation, especially for vaccines preventing childhood diseases, is very fundamental.

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“The diseases – vaccines preventing childhood diseases – are killing children below five. But they are vaccine-preventable. If you do not have a constant power supply, you cannot have the cold chains required to preserve the efficacy of the vaccines. It has been established that a significant percentage, no less than 20 per cent of measles, can be treated with a good water supply.

“People are always infected with typhoid and cholera. These are diseases we can treat with what we call water hygiene sanitation. We still have open defecation. Open defecation is a potent invitation to diarrhoea. We cannot have health education. That is one of the functions at the primary healthcare level. We were taught at the medical school that common things occur commonly,” the minister also pointed out.

Mamora, who believed the first step in the treatment of “a patient is diagnosis” said, “We must diagnose so that we can know what we are dealing with. We have to sit down and look at the massive emigration of professionals from the federation. The root causes are not far-fetched.”

“The proverbial green pasture or golden fleece is not always true. It is only in the deserts that you do not see green pastures. Israel, for instance, is a desert. But they are not having desert experience. They live in abundance,” the minister observed during the interview session.”

Mamora also acknowledged that a lot of our young professionals were not satisfied with the situation back home, hence compelling them to seek greener pastures off the shore.

He explained that the problems of mass emigration “are not about being gainfully employed alone. Even those who are employed are not happy in terms of their conditions of service, emoluments and quality of life.

“They are also not happy with the security situation. These are issues that we must first confront as a federation. If you look at the health sector, for instance, our hospitals are not what hospitals should be in terms of personnel. Where we need 10 nurses, we probably have two nurses. Where we need five medical doctors, we probably have one. As a result, personnel become overburdened.

“There could be issues around inadequacy and non-existence of medical equipment. It is not about having beautiful structures. If equipment is not available, there is little or nothing that personnel can do. It could also be issues revolving around emoluments and remuneration.”

He also pointed out that University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan used to be a teaching hospital of choice for the high and mighty, even from the Far East, noting that Princes from the Far East were coming to UCH.