By Suleiman Adamu , Sokoto
A team of experts and professionals promoting the activities of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Integrated Health Project(IHP) has emphasised the need to strengthen basic healthcare facilities components in Sokoto state with a view to reduce maternal and child morbidity in the state.
The call came at a one day capacity building on Health Governance and Media coverage organised for media practitioners in the state by the Integrated Health Project under the USAID piloted programme.
The team noted that the state was fast affected by the high rate of maternal and child morbidity .
According to the team ” we have to promote and encourage actions and commitment that would reverse the trend and narratives for the better as a measure to ensure survival .”
In a presentation at the training session, a USAID-IHP Knowledge Management Specialist noted that the media was an important segment for driving the objectives of the project in strengthening health care services with the commitment of government and relevant stakeholders.
The Specialist said the media has the role of promoting advocacy and dissemination of information that would compel and prevail on major stakeholders to ensure necessary interventions were achieved in the areas of health system strengthening, new born birth, nutrition and malaria.
These, the official said, were linked to funding ,accessibility of facilities, quality assurance, policies and strategic implementation as well as legislation to improve the system.
In the same vein, the professional disclosed that USAID-IHP has taken its campaigns across the state through ensuring the impact of its interventions were felt across the 244 PHCs and 10 General Hospitals on reproductive, maternal and child health.
However, while recalling the 2005 agreement to allocate 15 % of annual budget to health, the Expert regretted the discouraging level of performance by most states , noting that the implementation has been far below expectation.
” Our coverage at USAID has impacted at wards and local governments (communities) by encouraging the training of women to access health facilities and other integrated services.” While further disclosing that the project has its stem in across Bauchi, Sokoto, Ebonyi and Kebbi states including the FCT.
” USAID is driving the course towards supporting and achieving the objectives of quality health care services, reduce barriers and strengthening government commitment to the system for the survival of all genders.”
However, the project’s Expert on Health Financing explained that a responsive financing trajectory and guideline must not be jettisoned to achieve an impacting level of success through strategic purchases of relevant health facilities items.
The Expert also observed that doing so would help improve the health indices and reverse the negative parameters in Sokoto state.
According to him” we need to acquire those components that are adequately demanded and impacting to those accessing the facilities at a point in time and not going for passive purchases where the manpower to operate certain equipment is lacking which renders the efforts meaningless.”