By Ummi Ismaeel,
Mc Arthur Foundation is partnering Niger State government to domesticate a policy and produce standard operating procedures that will aid the implementation of a health policy for the of citizens especially those in the rural areas.
The project, which included; training in collaboration with Niger State Ministry of Health and Primary Health Care (PHC) Essential Obstetric and Newborn Care to increase the pool of skilled birth attendants, aimed at reducing the death rate of mothers and babies during child births.
Senior Manager (Technical Service), Pathfinder International Nigeria, Olayiwola Jaiyeola, disclosed this after a two-day workshop for healthcare workers and some civil society organizations in Niger State.
The McArthur Foundation sponsored three-year project is a short-term programme that will meet the urgent health needs of rural dwellers. “Majority of the over 180 million Nigerians who are in the rural areas have no access to quality healthcare”.
The essence of the training, Jaiyeola said, was to put in place a pool of capable hands to meet the immediate health needs of rural populace as a stop-gap to inadequate number of healthcare professionals in remote areas as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Jaiyeola said that the agency was supporting Niger State government to operationalize the National Task-shifting policy for healthcare workers, a document development by the Federal Ministry of Health and as approved by the National Council on Health.
“McArthur Foundation is supporting Niger State government to bridge the shortfall in healthcare professionals. Poor health indices were not improving over the years especially in maternal and neonatal mortality due to inadequate skilled healthcare workers and delivery attendants”.
The project, Jaiyeola further explained, was to use some health workers resident in rural areas in achieving what could not be achieved over the years in trying to encourage Doctors, Nurses, Midwives and other health workers to move down to rural areas where access to quality healthcare delivery is at its lowest.
Also, the Director Public Health and Chairman, Niger State Task Team for the Operationalization of Task Shifting /Sharing, Dr. Mohammed Usman commended McArthur Foundation for helping the state in areas of guaranteeing quality healthcare delivery.
Usman also enumerated a number of challenges the state is facing trying to convince qualified health personnel to move to rural areas where there is high inadequacy said the Governor Bello administration has put in place a number of incentives to check the trend.