When the last population census was conducted, it was discovered that the population has increased tremendously. However, one would have thought that when that was discovered, government would have thought it wise to increase the health centres but that is the not the case today.
Investigation shows that the number of hospitals in Nigeria does not commensurate with its population hence the crowd always seen at various centres on daily basis. And because government is not proactive, many people cannot get access to the few ones available hence the reason why some are settling for self-medication which has resulted to many deaths.
And because of the shortages of hospitals in the country, especially in rural areas, some experts recommended that there should Primary Health Centres, PHCs since it is easier and cheaper to establish.
The disturbing aspect however is that since the creation of some PHCs, governments at various levels – federal and states are not giving them the required attentions and supports.
Research has shown that scaling up primary health care (PHC) interventions across low and middle-income countries could save millions of lives and increase average life expectancy by 3.7 years by 2030.
However, achieving the targets for PHC requires additional investments of billions of dollars annually for more comprehensive package of health services.
Meanwhile, at the UN high level UHC meeting in 2019, countries were advised to be committed to strengthening their primary health care. The World Health Organization, WHO recommended that every country allocate or reallocate an additional 1% of GDP to PHC from government and external funding sources.
Well, if the WHO’s development goal is anything to go by, then the Primary Health care is supposed to be an essential health care centre which should be made accessible to individuals in communities at costs that they can afford. The WHO put forward the concept of primary health care that includes the basic services required for meeting one’s everyday health care needs like conducting a regular checkup with the family doctor or visiting low income health clinics.
According to the recommendation, Primary health care centers should also offer professional medical care for individuals based on locality or community before shifting them to more advanced hospital-based care like the general specialist and super specialist. In fact, primary health care forms the vital aspect of a country’s health system while immensely assisting in the socio-economic development of the community.
The main role of primary health care however is to provide continuous and comprehensive care to the patients. It also helps in making the patient available with the various social welfare and public health services initiated by the concerned governing bodies and other organizations. The other major role of a primary health care center is to offer quality health and social services to the underprivileged sections of the society.
As for the benefits of primary health care to the members of a community, it offers the first set of professional care to the patients by incorporating a proactive approach that utilizes several preventive measures, management of chronic disease, and promoting self-care. Along with that, primary health care provides increased accessibility to advanced health care system for the community, which results in excellent health outcomes and prevention of delay.
Primary care is supposed to be the first point of contact with health services and provides a point of entry for the entire health system but that is not the case today. Many lives are being lost because some cannot even get good health care in the PHC nearest to them while some are very far away from them.
Some PHCs cannot take care of simple malaria sickness because of the negligence on the parts of government hence some died in the process while the space in some PHCs are too small to accommodate the people from that community that visit there on daily basis. Some don’t even have enough and required number of medical personnel in place.
Meanwhile, research has shown that some patients admitted to hospitals with complications related to manageable health condition, such as hypertension, were four times more likely to lack access to a primary health care provider.
In the United Kingdom, increases in the supply of general practitioners have been positively correlated with reduced rates of hospital admissions, when normalized for location, ethnicity and socioeconomic class.
If only the Nigerian government can borrow a leaf from other countries who have functional PHCs, the number of hospital visitations or admissions would have reduced by now and the lives that have been lost would have be avoided if government can show a little commitment to the PHCs except there is a hidden agenda for the reason why those PHCs are not given attention to.
With additional reports