Nigeria’s health minister calls for revitalisation of primary healthcare centres


Nigeria’s health minister, Prof Isaac F Adewole, has stressed the need for the revitalisation of the country’s primary health centres, he disclosed this in a recent interview.

The minister told Premium Times that the inefficiency of the primary healthcare centres is the reason why Nigerians go to tertiary healthcare centres to treat minor ailment.

He said: When Nigerians are sick today, because they don’t trust the Primary which has more or less collapsed, they walk into a Teaching Hospital or a Federal Medical Centre and say I have headache, I have skin rashes, I am having nausea and vomiting. And we say that it’s not what a Teaching Hospital or Medical Centre is meant for.

He revealed that the health ministry under his leadership is aiming to reposition primary healthcare properly so that it can sit at the base of the nation’s healthcare system.

“We want a base which is the PHC, Secondary and Tertiary. Seventy per cent of Nigerians will access health at the Primary: those who want to deliver, those who have malaria, those who have diarrhoea and vomiting, those who have skin rashes, those who want to immunise their children, they don’t have to go to a specialist hospital. Twenty per cent will access healthcare, those who cannot deliver and need caesarean section will go to Secondary; accidents, bad cases will go there. Then the super complex cases like the girl with cystic hygroma, the liver cancer, cervical cancer, renal failure, stroke, will go to a tertiary centre. So within the lifespan of this administration, we want to reposition this pyramid,” he said.

Out of the country’s 30,000 PHCs, he said only about 20% are functioning.  

There are 9,244 political wards in this country, for ease of functionality, let’s call it 10,000. If we can make the PHC work in each of these wards, that will enable us to deliver health to at least 100 million Nigerians. That will be a major achievement and that is why we are making that a cardinal issue in the life of this administration.


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Paul is a university lecturer, medical researcher, extensively published author and freelance contributor. He holds a MSc degree in cell biology and genetics, and is a PhD candidate of the University of Ibadan.

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