Stakeholders’ buy-in has become necessary in the ongoing Primary Health Care reforms in Edo State, as the Executive Secretary, Edo State Primary Health Care Development Agency (EDSPHCDA), Dr. Omosigho Izedonmwen, and his team has commenced advocacy visits to various establishments.

At the various visits, Dr. Omosigho spoke about the six key thematic areas, which include community participation, manpower improvement, governance structure, infrastructural upgrade, essential drugs, and the use of technology.

He emphasized that His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Edo State, has remained true to his words in strengthening primary health care. As part of the efforts, Mr. Obaseki has employed over 243 staff to work in the PHCs, including medical officers of health, nurses, chew, pharmacist, lab technicians, and health attendants. The Agency will soon advertise by location for the proposed recruitment of more staff to meet the health needs of Edo State residents.

Dr. Omosigho Izedonmwen ES addressing stakeholders at the Nurses House, Evboriaria Quarters, Benin City

Dr. Omosigho further mentioned that renovation work is ongoing at 12 selected PHCs in Benin metropolis to improve health services’ accessibility to residents. Additionally, a Bill of Quantities (BOQ) for another 46 PHCs across the 3 Senatorial Districts in the state has been developed, and work will commence soon on those 46 PHCs. The Government’s objective is to renovate at least one PHC in the 192 wards in Edo State to fully function and deliver quality health services to the people.

The Executive Secretary also highlighted the need for adherence to specific requirements when building PHCs or Health Posts. He urged the people of Edo to visit the Edo State Primary Health Care Development Agency (EDSPHCDA) to obtain the necessary guidelines before starting such projects.

He further discussed the ongoing quality management system structuring within the Agency and the deployment of developed clinical standard operating procedures (SOPs) and job descriptions for PHC staff. According to him, the Agency is working hard to standardize its operations to deliver quality health services.

Regarding technology adoption, Dr. Omosigho expressed Governor Obaseki’s passion to phase out paper-based systems in PHCs. Several initiatives have been implemented, including upgrading e-clinic software to improve PHC service utilization, deploying point-of-sale devices to PHCs to boost IGR, using e-clinic to track Headquarter/PHC staff attendance, employing e-Governance systems for administrative processes in the Headquarters and the LGAs, and deploying tablets for the PHC client home-based scheme.

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He noted that community participation has been a key focus, with the Agency engaging with Ward Development Committees (WDC) and Village Development Committees (VDC) as gatekeepers of the community to involve them in the ongoing reforms and decision-making processes to improve their well-being.

The team first paid a courtesy visit to the President of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) Edo State Chapter, Mrs. Eseine, and her team of Nurses at Evboriaria Quarters, Sapele Road. They then proceeded to visit the President of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) Dr. Uaboi and the EXCOS at their office premises at Ezoti. Afterward, they visited the Executive Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Mrs. Tayo Salami, at the Secretariat Complex, Benin City.

The Agency has successfully established functional and active WDCs and VDCs. Additionally, they have engaged WDCs of the 12 PHCs under renovation to ensure community buy-in and ownership.

Dr. Omosigho outlined the next steps for the Agency, which include the introduction of the PHC Client Home-Based Care Scheme and engagement with WDCs of the 46 PHCs earmarked for renovation. The scheme will involve training Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) to carry out the initiative. The Agency plans to partner with the Ministry of Communication and Orientation and the SA to the Governor on Media to create awareness of the proposed PHC client home-based scheme.

Dr. Omosigho Izedonmwen ES addressing the SUBEB team at their office at Secretariat Complex, Benin City

He announced that there would be a distribution of tablets and work tools to some of the CHEWs who would be deployed to communities. This new approach aims to bring back community-based service where CHEWs identify risk groups within the community, such as pregnant women, children, the elderly, teenagers, and families, and provide them with health services not only in health centers but also in their homes.

Dr. Omosigho emphasized that “The primary health care reform agenda focuses not only on treating diseases but also on preventive care for the people of Edo State.”