FG launches 5-day free health care for 20m Nigerians

Posted by Judd-Leonard Okafor | 6 months ago | 194 times

Nigeria has declared five days of free health services targeting nearly 20 million people across 409 lowest-performing local government areas. 

For five days each in March, April and June, residents in the affected local government areas will get free healthcare, medical consultation and minor surgeries, attend health talks and receive counselling under the Integrated Medical Outreach Programme (I-MOP).

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo launched the programme at the Township Health Cenre in Bwari, one of the six council areas in the FCT, where settlements have been categorized as “unreached, underserved, and vulnerable.” 

He called it “not only a sensible, but practical plan” to scale up access to routine immunisation and other health services. 

“Starting next week Monday, March 23, health workers will offer services in primary health care centres and move from settlement to settlement, searching for underserved and unreached communities in 409 local government areas, targeting over 20 million [people] with free basic health services,” announced Faisal Shuaib, executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency. 

Treatments, minor surgeries and counselling will be at designated centres, one per senatorial district.

“Opportunities like the I-MOP provide unique platforms for the health system to bride the gaps and make sure no one is left behind in the journey toward universal health coverage,” said Shuaib. 

The FCT performed better than most states in the North Central in terms of indices as routine immunisation, but it “performed poorly” in other areas compared to the national average, said Ramatu Tijjani, Minister of State for the FCT.

Its coverage for sanitation was 30%, compared with a national average of 35%–meaning up to three in 10 people in the territory still defecate in the open. And only three in 10 children under five years old sleep under a mosquito net. 

“We need to do more,” said Tijjani. “In each of the six area councils, the FCT will partner in providing high-impact commodities.” 

She said the territory administration had already identified and trained healthworkers who will man all fixed, temporarily fixed and mobile posts where residents will get services throughout the period. 

I-MOP will run in three phases each for five days from March 23, a second in April and the last in June. 

“These are adhoc, stop-gap measures,” said Health minister, Osagie Ehanire. “Our goal is to develop resilient, sustainable health system. 

“We have planned and worked hard, but there is more work to be done to extend health care to all Nigerians.”

Source: Daily Trust
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