By Bukola Adama
Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed has lamented the lack of update of demographic data, saying it is the biggest challenge faced in Sub-Sahara Africa as it hinders proper planning.
He then called for a stronger health system and reliable demographic data for planning in Nigeria.
The governor made the call on Tuesday while receiving the Founder-President of Wellbeing Foundation, Barr. (Mrs) Toyin Ojora Saraki, accompanied by officials of program partners, Johnson & Johnson and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
He noted that healthcare is critical and requires a major attention and unless the County improves on its health delivery system, it is not ready to move on to development.
Governor Ahmed added that development trajectories cannot be created without strong service delivery system, starting from mother and child. He noted that Nigeria was only able to reduce death rate by 39 per cent, which he argued was still very low.
He disclosed that government is ensuring that registrations are done both at birth and death for proper budgetary planning.
Ahmed observed that efforts like that of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and Johnson & Johnson must be strengthened, adding that government budgetary support cannot alone deliver the necessary health system.
He expressed his administration’s readiness to partner the Foundation to make its programmes a success to boost the already existing health care service delivery in the state.
He added that the challenge of healthcare is premised on financial capacity.
Speaking further, Governor Ahmed stated that his predecessor, Dr Bukola Saraki put in place one of the strongest platforms to deliver affordable and accessible healthcare to the people with the Community Health Insurance Scheme.
He disclosed that the scheme had been upscale to a state-wide programme and the machineries for its takeoff had been put in place with the aim of strengthening accessibility and availability.
The governor pledged that the state government will continue to foster partnerships and support from donors and foundations, and assured that his administration will institutionalise the existing healthcare system so as to transmit it the next administration for impact.
Earlier, Barr. Saraki said the team was in the state on assessment tour of Joint partners in emergency obstetric and newborn care (EmONC) programme and mama care maternal programme.
She disclosed that the EmONC programme, which her Foundation commenced in 2015 is being carried out at basic healthcare facilities in 9 local governments in the state by increasing the availability and quality of care for mothers and babies.
Mrs Saraki applauded the governor for the various healthcare programmes initiated by his administration especially in maternal and child care.
She solicited for the support of Ahmed to lead the mantra in civil registrations and vital statistics to ensure every child is registered at birth and for democratic dividends to reach every citizen.
…says administration committed to primary health care
Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfattah Ahmed has said his administration is committed to ensuring immunisation and other primary health care services were available and accessible to all Kwarans.
He stated this on Tuesday, during the flag-off of 2018 Measles Vaccination Campaign in Ilorin, adding that his administration had established the state Primary Health Care Development Agency which according to him had so far made about 500 health facilities functional.
The governor said his administration has put in place strategies to reduce the burden of measles with high premium on Primary Health Care and Routine Immunisation.
He added that the agency had also provided routine immunisation on a regular basis to ensure that citizens of the state, especially children are protected from Vaccine Preventable Diseases.
According to the Governor, “Additionally, we have supported Primary Health Care activities by paying the counterpart fund for this Measles Vaccination Campaign and the biannual Maternal, New-born Child Health (MNCH) Week which is aimed at delivering high impact interventions to mothers and children”.
Governor Ahmed also assured that the forthcoming state Health Insurance Scheme would also ensure that quality and affordable health care services including immunization are accessible to all citizens of Kwara State regardless of their economic status.
He further explained all these strategies are aimed at reducing the incidence of Vaccine Preventable Diseases to the barest minimum in Kwara State.
The campaign against measles, according to the Governor, is a collective on and all hands must be on deck to ensure Nigeria is polio-free.
The governor who underscored the importance of vaccination said “Indeed, statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that in 2016, there were 89,780 measles deaths globally.
“However, during 2000-2016, measles vaccination resulted in an 84 per cent drop in measles deaths and prevented an estimated 20.4 million deaths, making measles vaccine one of the best investments in public health.
“These statistics prove that accelerated immunization activities have had a major impact on reducing measles related deaths,” Ahmed said.
In his remarks, the Chairman House Committee on Health, Alhaji Ahmad Ibn Muhammad called on Local Government chairmen to be actively involved in the vaccination exercise in their respective areas by replicating.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Comrade Olaitan Adefila described Measles as one of the most infectious diseases known to man which is preventable, and capable of producing severe morbidity including permanent disability and death.
Earlier, the State Executive Secretary, Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Abimbola Folorunsho stated that the campaign which is a nationwide exercise was delayed because of the last Yellow fever vaccination in the state.
Folorunsho expressed gratitude to LEAH Foundation, UNICEF, WHO, Lions Club International and other partners for supporting the agency in promoting the campaign against preventable diseases.
The vaccination exercise which commenced yesterday across the state is for children between nine months and five years.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO), Coordinator in the state, Pharm. Mustapha Katibi said his office had collaborated with the state in a number of campaigns, including the just concluded Yellow Fever Preventive Vaccination in which Kwara scored over 90 per cent in Post Coverage Survey Report released last week.
According to him, Measles remains a burden in Nigeria as a result of high level of unvaccinated children.
“Nigeria, being a signatory to the Measles elimination by the year 2020 is organising Measles campaigns from October, last year to March this year”.