The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, has expressed concern over the state of Nigeria’s Primary Health Care system (PHC) system, saying it is not where it should be in terms of service delivery across the country.
Abbas made his remarks during a retreat for members of the House Committee on Healthcare Services, themed “Improving Health Outcomes Through Effective Legislations for Primary Health Care and Universal Health Coverage (UHC).”
The speaker pledged to address the shortcomings of the PHC system through effective legislation, as enshrined in the 2014 National Health Act, noting the need for a healthcare system that provides quality, affordable, and equitable services to all citizens, regardless of their background or financial circumstances.
He also noted the challenges faced by the PHC system, including dilapidated infrastructure, a shortage of skilled health workers, low demand for services, inadequate funding, and a perceived lack of absorptive capacity leading to poor budget execution and the return of funds.
These challenges, he stated, hinder the health system’s ability to reach its full potential and noted the crucial role of effective legislation in shaping and strengthening the health system.
“The aim of the retreat is to address the critical issue that lies at the heart of human capital development and well-being, the pursuit of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through primary health care and the vital role of effective legislation in achieving this goal, particularly through the collaborative efforts of the executive and legislature.
According to Abbas, the cornerstone of UHC is primary healthcare, which serves as both the first line of defense against illness and a gateway to necessary health services.