Nigeria’s Health Indices in Child and Maternal Care Among Worst, Says Health Minister
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has acknowledged that Nigeria’s health indices in child and maternal care are among the worst in the world, particularly in rural areas lacking healthcare facilities and plagued by ignorance, despite significant expenditure on health.
Speaking at the inauguration of the South-South Zone Traditional Leaders’ Committee (SSTLC) on Primary Health Care Delivery in Benin, Edo State, the health minister emphasized the need to build trust, confidence, and acceptance of government health interventions in order to save lives and reduce illnesses.
Dr. Ehanire stressed that the primary health care system serves as the foundation of an effective healthcare delivery system, being the first point of contact for citizens with the nation’s healthcare system.
“Nigeria is among nations with the worst health indices in child and maternal care, and this is particularly evident in rural areas lacking healthcare infrastructure but burdened with ignorance, despite significant expenditure on health,” said the minister.
While acknowledging that Nigeria has made progress in the health sector in recent years, Dr. Ehanire admitted that more work needs to be done, especially in rural and hard-to-reach areas where access to healthcare services remains a major challenge.
The minister highlighted the importance of community engagement in all primary health interventions, recognizing the vital role of traditional leaders in achieving success. He emphasized the need to involve these respected custodians of culture and values, as they play a pivotal role in promoting health and preventing disease within their communities.
In attendance at the event, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, represented by Dr. Stanley Ehiarimwian, the Permanent Secretary of the state’s Ministry of Health, commended Dr. Ehanire, an indigene of Edo State, for his accomplishments and pledged support for the newly-inaugurated SSTLC in their pursuit of their goals.
The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, explained that the SSTLC serves as a coordination platform for paramount traditional leaders from the six states in the South-South zone. The aim is to enhance collaboration and promote health through scientifically-proven methods in modern healthcare.
Representing the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, Chief George Ekhator, the Obasogie of Benin, praised the health minister for his vision and wisdom, assuring full support from the Benin Kingdom for the SSTLC initiative.
Dr. Josephine Obayagbona, the South-South Zonal Director of NPHCDA, highlighted the significance of primary healthcare as the cornerstone of a healthy nation, as it serves as the first point of contact for individuals and families in accessing essential health services.
As Nigeria grapples with the challenge of improving healthcare outcomes, initiatives like the SSTLC and collaborative efforts among stakeholders are crucial in addressing the gaps and ensuring better health for all Nigerians.