To improve interest and trust in Primary Health Care (PHC) services, the federal government has identified traditional rulers as key in community mobilisation, health promotion, disease prevention and surveillance.
The former Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, stated this weekend in Benin City during the inauguration of South-south traditional leaders committee on Primary Health Care services.
Ehanire said the move is also geared to “build a partnership with royal fathers, to fast-track ways to promote health and prevent disease among people with scientifically proven ways and means in modern health care.”
He lamented that Nigeria still ranked among the worst health indices on earth, regarding child, maternal and road traffic accidents, despite considerable expenditure on health, adding that.
“Most of this happens in rural areas with no health care, but plenty of ignorance. And to change things, we must win the people’s trust, confidence and acceptance of government health interventions to save lives and reduce illness. Your majesties and highness no doubt share same wish,” Ehanire stated.
On his part, the executive director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said: “The traditional leader’s operation in support of PHC activities and programmes will be at state level under the auspices of the council of chiefs.
Shuaib added that the SSTLC would provide oversight as a zonal coordination platform, adding that, “our traditional fathers are to meet quarterly to receive updates on the status of primary health care in their states from the government through NPHCDA.”