The need for strategic leaders, gate keepers and other critical stakeholders to take ownership of health intervention programmes in the state has been stressed.
This was the high point of deliberations at the first quarterly meeting between the Akwa Ibom State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (AKSPHCDA) and the various development partners in the state held at the agency’s board room, recently.
Speaking at the event, the chairman of the governing board of the agency, Dr. Martin Akpan, emphasized the need for constant advocacy to policymakers by programme managers as an effective strategy to get their attention and active involvement of chief executives, especially at the third tier of government with the view to changing the narrative in the primary healthcare sub-sector.
Akpan, who expressed his appreciation to the partners for their commitment and passion, stated that the meeting was to provide an opportunity for the participants to compare notes, share experiences and identify gaps with a view to streamlining their operations, stressing that partnership, synergy and complementarily arising from teamwork, berth success.
The AKSPHCDA boss remarked that in view of the fact that primary healthcare was the mother of healthcare, the agency has worked assiduously since its inception to meet the conditionalities of National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) for sustainable funding to complement the effort of the state government.
Akpan added that it resulted in 231 Primary Healthcare Centresin the state being certified eligible to access the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund.
He assured that efforts were being intensified to address the gaps identified during the last National Verification Exercise so that all the Primary Health centres in the remaining political wards can benefit from the fund.
The AKSPHCDA helmsman, used the occasion to appreciate the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, for the prompt payment of the state counterpart fund in this regard and other statutory measures adopted by the government to support the agency to drive reforms in the sector.
Akpan who decried the poor uptake of Covid-19 vaccination in the state ,urged residents to avail themselves of the vaccines as they were safe and effective.
Earlier, the executive secretary of the agency, Dr. Eno Attah, had given an overview of the activities of the agency as well as the areas of collaboration with the partners which include: training, mentorship and technical support , adding that the agency was developing policy documents based on national guidelines and invited the partners to identify with same.
All the representatives of the 14 development partners made presentations in their various fields of expertise, coverage and successes.
They made a case for evidence-based advocacy, integration of health services and more support from government , especially in respect of provision of monitoring vehicles and bridging the huge human resource gap in the facilities that has hampered effective service delivery.
The World Health Organization (WHO) representative in the state, Dr. Sylvester Agwai, the state chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) who is also the director of disease control and immunization in the agency, Dr. Ime Udoh, the state prograrmme manager of Save One Million Lives.
Others were the programme manager, State Malaria Elimination Programme, Dr John Orok, team leads of UnitedNations Children Fund (UNICEF), Hellen Keller International(HKI), The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS(UNAIDS), National Agency for the Control of AIDS ( NACA),Akwa Ibom State Agency for the Control of HIV//AIDS(AKSACA), Aid Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and Breakthrough Action Nigeria (BA-N) as well as AHNI, among others were on hand to grace the event.