members of Latter-day Saints Charities, the humanitarian arm of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have called on Nigerian government to give adequate attention to primary healthcare in the country. The group which recently commissioned its newly renovated Iyana-Ejigbo Primary Healthcare Centre, Lagos noted that a healthier workforce is a product of an effective grassroots health system.
Primary healthcare (PHC) is a community-based system billed to offer preventive, curative and rehabilitative health care services to residents. It was established in 1978 as a global vehicle for providing healthcare for all. Some of the basic qualities of an effective PHC is that it must have adequate supply of water for drinking and sanitation, provide essential drugs, and offer immunization. In Nigeria, some residents lamented that their community health centre is characterized by inadequate equipment, poor condition of infrastructure, lack of essential drug and poor distribution of health workers.
Mahmud Labinjo, a Humanitarian Specialist with Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Accra said the challenge of healthcare across African region is similar but in a typical city like Lagos, Nigeria, he expected that the facilities should be better than what it was. According to him, there are not enough facilities, the personnel are working with minimum equipments and the doctor-patient ratio, is discouraging.
Latter-day Saints Charities led by Mr. Daniel Yirenya-Tawiah, Area Welfare Manager said they have been supporting primary healthcare delivery in Africa as a church through renovations, medical supplies and provision of bole hole. He added that the church is not given to only preaching the gospel but also seeks ways to support government through humanitarian services to communities. Some of the equipment donated to Ejigbo Health Centre were: adult weighing scale, infrared thermometer, electric suctioning machine, suctioning catheter, dressing forceps, standard delivery couch and kidney dish.
Labinjo continued that the basic of every nation is human resource and man power. The government will have healthy people to work in its system productively if it concentrates on improving primary healthcare.
“If the government wants to reduce cost of expenditure as a nation, it should take care of the people at the grassroots. If people go to work and they are not healthy, they will not be productive. It is not only creating jobs, you will need people to work in the jobs and to work in the jobs you need a healthy health system. More importantly, if government takes care of primary health care, the pressure on tertiary health care will be reduced. So, it is important that our government realize that health of our people is important and invest a little more in it. If you cure that, the ripple effect will affect many areas.
“When a child is in primary school is unhealthy, no matter how the teacher tries to teach, the child will not assimilate what he is being taught. Hence, if adequate attention is giving at the level of primary healthcare, the government will be addressing the bigger problem because problems are best addressed from the bottom not at the top,” he explained.
Appreciating the laudable support of the church, the executive chairman of Ejigbo local government, Mr. Monsurudeen Bello said the Lagos state government is doing its best to improve healthcare delivery in the state adding that, “a government that is not concerned about the health of the people is a failing government.”
“However, we appreciate our donors for this gesture. Many of the equipment that the government is trying to provide for the people has this organisation supported the people with. It will improve the efficiency of our health workers, encourage them to come to the clinic and help us to reach out to more people with health services,” he noted.