Africa’s leading civil society organization, Connected Development (CODE) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s initiative and is calling for the inclusion of civil society organisations (CSOs) in the recently instituted Health Sector Reform Committee approved by the President.
The Organization in a statement by its Communications Associate; Adaora Okoye, said it is pertinent for CSOs to be a part of this committee, in order to bring visibility to the efforts being made to reform Nigeria’s healthcare system as well as keep the committee accountable.
Recall that CODE’s social accountability initiative, Follow The Money’s research on the state of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in Nigeria revealed that only 20% of the PHCs in fifteen states are functional.
The field-based research work assessed the readiness of the PHCs to receive, store and effectively administer vaccines, randomly selecting 90 PHCs across 15 states from the six geo-political zones in the country and found them wanting.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval of the Committee and appointment of Vice-President Osibanjo as Chairman, offers an avenue for intersectional collaboration on the review of healthcare reform adopted in the past two decades.
Hamzat Lawal, CODE’s Chief Executive and Founder of Follow The Money emphasised that, “The development of the new health sector reform programme has been a long time coming especially considering the present condition of PHCs across Nigeria. The involvement of civil society leaders who have a strong portfolio in primary healthcare interventions is paramount.”
In a bid to promote accountability and transparency, CODE launched a research to assess the state of Primary Health Care facilities by mobilizing young people from its pool of over 8000 community champions across every geo-political zone in Nigeria, to advocate for the provision of quality health-care services, transparency in the distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines and Accountability of all COVID-19 Relief Materials.
According to Pearl Utuk, CODE Project Lead and Programmes Associate, “The research reveals such deficiencies as lack of access to clean water and electricity. In some PHCs, they testified to using rain water to clean up and deliver babies. This shows the abysmal state of the healthcare system which the healthcare reform should address.”
Owing to the reality that CSOs represent the interests of the citizens, having them serve as members of the Committee will provide more insight and invaluable resources to the already constituted committee, Okoye said.
CODE insisted that governance is the responsibility of all Nigerians, and when government processes are participatory and transparent, it brings sustainable development and growth.