NGO advocates for improved official intervention, community support in Anambra PHCs

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Dr Frank Umeh Director, Community Health Services, Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (ASPHCDA), addressing community leaders at Okpuno PHC in Awka

Connected Development (CODE), a non-governmental organisation, on Thursday in Awka called for increased intervention, community support and participation in the governance process in Anambra.

It also called for similar strategy in the running of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in the state.

Mrs Ujunwa Ananwude, Team Lead, CODE – Anambra State, made the calls at a town hall meeting at Okpuno PHC, Awka South, Anambra.

Ananwude said through its “Follow the Money’’ project, CODE assessed different PHCs in the state and realised that many did not meet the minimum standard set by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA).

“Many of the PHCs are understaffed with dilapidated infrastructure; they do not have access to electricity, clean water and the capacity to host, store and administer vaccines.

“This meeting is to bring these problems to the notice of the government and those of community leaders so as to ensure that PHCs maintain the minimum standard as stipulated by the NPHDA.

“The community has a role to play by supporting government’s efforts and channelling a course that would ensure access to basic and quality healthcare in every community,’’ she said.

In his remarks, Dr Frank Umeh, Director, Community Health Services, Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (ASPHCDA), called for community ownership of the PHCs.

He urged community leaders to monitor happenings in the PHCs and to report lapses to government.

Contributing, Mrs Uju Onwuegbuzina, Health Educator, ASPHCDA, said that community involvement in the maintenance of PHCs was critical as government could not do it everything alone.

“At the next meeting and community assembly, discuss issues on how to support government to maintain PHCs in your communities.

“Such support is for the good of the people.

“Now, people need to travel far to access quality antenatal, maternal and child care services, as well as other basic healthcare,’’ she noted.

Responding on behalf of the community leaders, one of them, Chief Goddy Nzekwu, said some communities had been responsible for the payment of salaries to cleaners and security guards in their PHCs.

“We have been supporting and we hope to do more but the major challenge in our PHCs is lack of manpower. Government should employ more health workers to manage the number of patients who visit the PHCs.

“Also, we urge the state government to adequately use the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund to improve basic infrastructure in our PHCs,’’ Nzekwu said.