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NPHCDA: Nigerians Don’t Trust Primary Healthcare Services

According to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the demand for primary healthcare services in Nigeria has remained stuck on a sub-optimal level as a result of socio-cultural and geographical barriers, poor quality of care and low level of trust in the health system arising from misinformation and disinformation.

Executive Director, NPHCDA, Faisal Shuaib, said this in Abuja yesterday during the close-out and dissemination of the findings of the Strengthening Demand for Primary Health Care Services in Nigeria Project conducted by the agency in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Busara Centre for Behavioral Economics.

He said the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 worsened the situation by bringing about social restrictions and heightening public distrust in the health systems.

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He said, “This impacted negatively on health-seeking behaviours and further weighed down on demand for services, especially at primary health care and community levels in the country.”

Shuaib said the implementation of the first stage of the project, which included funding for two years to cover start-up support in two states – Niger and Gombe, commenced in 2021.

Director, of Community Health Services, NPHCDA, Chris Elemuwa, said the project helped raise awareness about the importance of accessing primary healthcare services and educated communities on the benefits of preventive healthcare.

He said this had resulted in a significant increase in the number of people accessing primary healthcare services.

Francis Meyo, the Vice President of Busara Delivery and Partnerships in Projects, said, “The reality of human behavior is that we don’t always act in our best interest.”