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CODE reveals that only 20 percent of Primary Health Care centres in 15 states are functional

Bukola Afeni

A leading Civil Society Organization, Connected Development (CODE) said research investigations have revealed that only 20 percent of the Primary Health Care Centres in 15 states are functional.

CODE’s Community Engagement Director, Busayo Morakinyo said the condition of the Primary Health Care centres (PHCs) where citizens receive treatment, and the place in which vaccines are stored is of great concern to his organization.

According to the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, Nigeria received 3.92 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in March 2021, the first delivery of the expected 16 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines, and commenced the vaccination of citizens in priority groups.

Nigeria’s health sector has struggled to meet up modern standards in terms of quality, efficiency, and accessibility to its vast population. “With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the wide devastating gaps in the health system became more pronounced, as citizens at rural and semi-urban communities particularly grappled with poor healthcare amidst a pandemic.”

CODE embarked on field-based research work to assess the readiness of the PHCs to receive, store and effectively administer vaccines, randomly selecting 90 PHCs across 15 states from the six geo-political zones in the country.

“The research, coupled with an online campaign, was launched to advocate for transparency in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and equally drive for the standardization of PHCs.

After three months of fieldwork and data analysis, CODE found that at least 80 percent of the 90 health centres fall below the minimum PHC standard set by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), with their grossly dilapidated infrastructure, poor and inadequate staffing, and incapacity to administer vaccines.”

“For instance, two out of every ten facilities do not have any form of electricity; they supplement natural light with lanterns or torchlights. Thirty (30) per cent have no access to clean water, thus relying on water from sources like wells and rainwater, stored in tanks.”

“With regards to vaccines’ storage and administration, only 56 out of the 90 PHCs assessed have the recommended pharmaceutical fridge to host vaccines. Our research also found that a number of the PHCs received less than 10 vials of COVID19 vaccine, which brought to question the checklist that informed such numbers for a facility that serves a community of nothing less than 1000 people.”

However, some PHCs have shown effort into providing minimum standard health services. CODE found that the common service denominator amongst all the PHCs is that 90 percent of the facilities provide ante-natal and maternity care, although the absence of sufficient personnel brings into question the quality of care mother’s and babies receive.

The first point of call for health care in any country, as part of the core objectives of the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP), a two-phased project supported by Conrad Hilton Foundation and Skoll Foundation, and executed by BudgIT Foundation, Connected Development and Global Integrity.

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