19 April 2018

Nigeria's Community Health Practitioners Hold Scientific Conference

Concerned about Nigeria achieving universal healthcare coverage, members of the National Association of Community Health Practitioners of Nigeria (NACHPN) and PACFaH@Scale, a non-governmental organisation, will on Thursday join other health workers and policy makers for a technical session on provision of quality healthcare for Nigerians in the rural area.

The event which is part of NACHPN's 2018 annual Scientific Conference is holding at the Katsina State local government service commission conference hall in Katsina.

The event is put together by NACHPN in conjunction with PACFaH@Scale.

The conference this year focuses on communicable diseases. The theme of the summit scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. is "Containing the spread of emerging communicable diseases in Nigeria."

Organisers say the summit aims to galvanise discussions on why the government should prioritise engaging more health workers with adequate knowledge in the primary healthcare centres which are being revitalised in the country.

In order to achieve the desired development in the sector, PACFaH@Scale has been working in partnership with NACHPN through its (PAS) project to advocate on strengthening advocacies and providing evidence (through researches) in four areas including Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR), Routine Immunisation, Family Planning, and Child Killer Diseases/pneumonia & diarrhea.

PAS is a health accountability reinvestment project that strengthens capacities of indigenous civil society organisations in holding decision makers in all arms of government to deliver on their financial commitments and other service compacts with the people, especially the poor and most vulnerable. The programme is being implemented by the Development Research and Project Center (DRPC).

This project is implemented through national and community-based CSOs as sub-grantees, each sub-grantee having its own thematic areas of focus.

The NACHPN, one of the sub-grantees, operates at the national level, to conduct advocacy on the inadequacy of the health budget to implement PHCUOR, and thus drawing attention of government to its policy commitments on PHC.

President Muhammadu Buhari as part of his administration's goals had promised to revatlise 10,000 primary health care centres across the country.

Part of the revitalisation effort included employment of more health workers to the centres.

According to the association, "Curiously enough is the misalignment in the fact of having many CHWs trained, qualify, yet unengaged."

PREMIUM TIMES brings you live update of the event.

9:45 am - It's a beautiful sunny morning here in Katsina, the capital of Katsina State.

9:50 am - Members of the association from across the country are beginning to arrive. Members of PACFaH@Scale are also on ground.

Participant just arriving for the event.

Meanwhile outside the hall, some traders are taking advantage of the conference and have set up their wares. Some of the things on the stands are bags, clothes, shoes among others. '

Participant just arriving for the event.

The Community Health Workers are a group of people who work in the primary healthcare centres across the country. They are tasked with the responsibility of getting healthcare closer to the people. They work at the PHCs.

10:00 a.m. The hall is gradually filling up. Currently, there are about 170 people seated and more people are still walking in.

Cross section of participants at the event

10:27 am - The event has started.

The MC is calling dignitaries to the high table. Some of the people on the high table include the president of the association, Akoh Jude; Kabiru Mustapha of the NPHCDA Kano, Emmaunel Abanida PACFaH@Scale, Hassan Karofi among others.

10 : 30 am The National president of the association welcomed everybody to the last day of the conference and introduced the PACFaH@Scale members to the association.

he explained that the PACFaH@Scale decided to work in partnership with the assocation to advocate for better health services for nigerians. Mr. Akor said the NGO has been supporting them in advocacy.

"Last year through them we were able to conduct our first national press conference last year december. We were able to meet with the minister of health Isacc Adewole and also the NPHCDA executive director Faisal Shuaib. they are here to train us and we believe we have a lot to learn from them

10:43 am - The welcome address is given by Emmanuel Abanida who welcomed the people to the 24th annual national scientific conference

10 : 47 am -

The conference is about to begin. It is a special capacity building session on community health practitioners as advocates in routine immunisation and primary health care under one roof in the PACFaH@Scale project

Mr. Abanida graded Nigeria's health system as bad.

Looking at the life expectancy, routine immunisation, under five mortality and maternal mortality rate in the country , the country has been performing woefully, he said.

He said despite all interventions from international development partners, things are not improving. What is missing? he asks.

He said NACHPN can do advocacy for health development more than any other health association in the country because they have direct contact with the rural people

PACFaH@Scale is encouraging and partnering with health organisations to advocate more for health financing in Nigeria, he said. It is not the only association in the health sector but it is an organisation that we have identified can achieve tremendous improvement in the health sector.

Mr Abanida identified some of the gaps in healthcare delivery in Nigeria as financing, low political will among others.

He said CHW needs to fight for the national health table as this is the only way they can achieve progress.

Nigeria

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