Borno Nship, Unicef Unveils Plan To Address Manpower, Infrastructural Gaps In Health Facilities

By Ahmed Abu, The Nigerian Voice, Maiduguri

Borno State Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA), through Nigeria State Health Investment Project (NSHIP), a World Bank assisted project and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have unveiled a strategic plan to engage the services of health personnel who are to work in some of the contracted Health Facilities (HFs) in the scale up interventions in Bayo, Kwaya Kusar, Shani, Hawul and other Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.

This is in addition to ensure that the major challenges of infrastructural decay and shortage of medical equipment in the existing health facilities are given adequate rehabilitation and fixing with the investment credit/ seed funds that are to be disbursed soon for each contracted Primary and Secondary Health Facilities to immediately commence production in the scale up project.

This was disclosed yesterday by the Executive Director of the SPHCDA, Dr. Sule Meleh during an emergency meeting of the State Technical Working Group (TWG) on Performance Based Financing (PBF) which took place at the Conference Hall of the Agency in Maiduguri.

Dr. Meleh who is also the Chairman of the TWG in the state said, the NSHIP which has been implemented in two Pilot Local Government Areas of Maiduguri Metropolis and Jere since June last year, has been scaled up to other Council Areas of Biu, Askira Uba, Magumeri and Kaga LGAs, while Mapping and Baseline Assessment have been carried out to additional 43 Health Facilities and General Hospitals selected in Bayo, Shani, Kwaya Kusar and Hawul Council Areas.

He stressed that out of the 43 HFs mapped out for the Baseline Assessment, only 30 were chosen based on PBF criteria due to some challenges and gaps identified.

He said, some of the challenges identified during the exercise include; lack of basic manpower, such as non availability of Medical Doctors, Nurses and Midwives as well as Community Health Extension Workers (CHEW) to fill the health gap in the scale up LGAs.

Dr. Meleh said, in accordance with minimum National Health Care Package which specifies that a health facility must have at least two CHEWs, most of the health facilities, especially in Bayo did not meet the criteria.

He noted that in Bayo LGA alone, only 2 out of the 10 would -be- contracted Health Facilities meet up the criteria based on PBF standard.

The Executive Director therefore suggested that, since the Seed Fund cannot support the contracting of health personnel gap, partners such as UNICEF should be involved to assist in funding recruitment of adhoc health personnel. Adding that, health workers on the cadre of CHEW and above enrolled into the N- POWER programme by the Federal Government should also be engaged to bridge the gap.

His words: "We called this emergency meeting of the TWG purposely to discuss possible means on how to address some of the bottlenecks identified during the Mapping and Baseline Assessment earlier conducted in some of the HFs to be contracted by NSHIP/PBF in our scale up project.

"As we partner with UNICEF and other stakeholders, it is high time we start engaging the services of Adhoc Nurses and Midwives, CHEWs for a short term of six months, so that our contracted Health facilities which have shortage of human resources benefit from this short term plan towards strengthening the health system in the state.

"We are also going to introduce and adopt the Tasks Shifting and Sharing Formulae, rationalization of duties in line with the Domestication of the National Policy on Health to ensure NSHIP/ PBF succeed in strengthening our health system". Meleh said.

Parts of the resolution reached after the meeting include running a detail in-depth analysis on the Human Resources, create a cost supervisory plan for the state to be carried out monthly with a template for the supportive supervisors, and setting up a Committee on the Domestication of the National Policy on Health Packages to be finalized within the next two weeks among other action points.