Japan Equips 10 Primary Health Care Centres (PHC) in Lagos
By David Lawal
In support of the efforts of Lagos State Government to reduce the shocking rate of maternal and child mortality in the state, the government of Japan in partnership with Biire Child and Maternal Health Foundation recently provided 10 Primary Health Care Centres (PHC) across Lagos State with medical equipment to further combat the ill trend adequately.
At the Ogudu Primary Health Care Centre in Kosofe Local government area of Lagos state- one of the beneficiaries of the equipment, the Japanese ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ryuichi Shoji, while commissioning the brand-new, high-cost medical equipment, affirmed the interest of the government of Japan in ‘The Projects for Provision of Medical Equipment for Primary Health Care centres in Lagos State’.
According to Dare Ajayi, Founder, Biire Foundation, the Japanese government through her Embassy in Nigeria has continued to work through various Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the country to carry out developmental projects especially in the rural areas.
“The Japanese government has rendered project assistance to Nigeria worth over $5billion hitherto, these assistance are wide spread across various sectors such as health, education, water, sanitation and rural electrification, poverty reduction,” he recounted.
Speaking at the Ogudu PHC in Ojota-Lagos, venue of the commissioning, Ajayi also added that these funds also include loan assistance; grant aid, technical cooperation and the grassroots human security projects.
While delivering his speech, Mr. Shoji, the Japanese Ambassador said: “I like to express my gratitude to our implementing partner, Biire Child and Maternal Health Foundation and for the cooperation of the Lagos state Ministry of Health, the Primary Health Care Board and Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA)”.
He further noted that the health sector is one of the main sectors, which Japan has been working on for many years in Nigeria.
“We would continue to give priority attention to the health sector in Nigeria. We should always keep in mind that sustainable economic development consists in the well-being of each individual. Therefore, each individual in Nigeria should be involved in its economic growth. This basic idea forms the background of today’s event,” the Japanese Envoy said.
In her remarks, Dr. Mrs. Yewande Adeshina, the Special Adviser on Public Health to the Governor of Lagos State, who also represented the Governor at the occasion expressed regrets for the ‘unavoidable absence’ of the State Governor, his Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris and the Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olufemi Olugbile.
Dr. Adeshina assured the ambassador of continuous improvement in Primary Health Care Centres across the state. Her words: “I like to reassure you that our maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate in Lagos is getting better due to a lot of interventions and funding which are yielding results. And this is why your support is so critical to us to know that we are not alone in this fight to keep our pregnant mothers alive.
“Some of the intervention is the establishment of the flagship PHCs. we realised that our general hospitals are overwhelmed with cases that should be handled at the PHC centres. So the Lagos state government thought that if each of the Local government and Local council areas in the state could have one PHC that is comprehensive, fully equipped and fully staffed, people would go less to the general hospitals and stay more in their Local government areas”.
While urging PHC boards to be able to raise funds to compliment government’s effort, the special adviser revealed that the state has also increased the budgetary allocations for the PHC Board. “When I came in as the special adviser, supervising the PHCs, our budget was about N56m, next year our budget has been approved up to N900m, it is a commitment of government to compliment your effort so I don’t want you to worry that this is the end of it,” She affirmed.
After mentioning the 10 benefitting PHCs of the pilot-phase of the project located in 10 Local Government Areas of the State, Mrs. Yemisi Sofola, Chairperson of the Lagos state Primary Health Care Board (PHCB), promised the proper maintenance and surveillance of the equipment by the board.
Mrs. Sofola, who urged the LGAs to support the maintenance of these equipment also noted: “It is our expectation that there would be a significant reduction over a period of 5 years. We therefore implore the health workers to ensure that the equipment are well utilized and well maintained once you keep them safely.”
She encouraged community ownership of PHC facilities, which according to her is a way to ensure proper maintenance. She identified the benefitting PHCs to include Kosofe PHC Centre, Amuwo Odofin PHC Centre, Iba PHC Centre, Alimosho PHC Centre, Ikoyi PHC Centre, Orile-Agege PHC Centre, Epe PHC Centre, Ibeju-Lekki PHC Centre, Ikate PHC Centre and Obalende-Simpson PHC Centre.
Furthermore, Mr. Shoji, during a brief interview after the programme, disclosed that the Japanese government chose to carry out the project in Lagos state because it is evidenced that the administration of Governor Fashola is making efforts to improve primary health care in the state.
On the aims and objectives of Grassroots Growth Project (GGP), the Japanese envoy noted that grassroots projects in Nigeria became their priority because, “there is always the community need, which is not attended. We just try to remedy the situation so our idea is to provide assistance, which would have direct and quick impart in the lives of the community people”.
Consequently, Mr. Ajayi urged the benefitting Primary Health Care Centres to maximize the use of the equipment through proper maintenance.
He therefore encouraged local government authorities to dedicate enough resources to the provision and maintenance of Primary Health care facilities as well as capable Nigerians to tread same path with the Japanese government saying: “We cannot continue to fold our hands and wait on international organisations to provide oxygen unit and delivery beds for our mothers and sisters”.