From Benjamin Babine, Abuja
Outreach Ovade Primary Healthcare Center celebrated its one-year anniversary of providing quality healthcare services to Ovade Community in Oghara Delta State under the Delta State Contributary Health Commission (DSCHC), in an innovative Public Private Partnership with Delta State Government.
In a bid to revitalize nonfunctional primary healthcare centers and create more access points for the community, PharmAccess Foundation in partnership with the Delta State Contributory Health Commission (DSCHC) designed this innovative framework which has allowed private sector organizations upgrade, manage, and run public PHCs with access to finance at concessionary rates.
The framework was designed to encourage Public-Private-Partnership between the State government and Private healthcare providers with the sole aim of providing affordable and quality healthcare in government owned health infrastructures, particularly infrastructures that are defunct and dilapidated but have the potential of catering for communities with limited access to healthcare facilities.
Currently, while states have indicated interest in setting up the scheme, Delta State through the DSCHC has implemented the scheme with about 15 health facilities taken up by various healthcare providers and are providing healthcare to well over 50,000 residents in about 50 communities, in the hard-to-reach areas of the state including the creeks.
Speaking at the first anniversary of the Ovade project, the Country Director of PharmAccess Foundation, Njide Ndili said: “I strongly believe that we are initiating a new model that could change the way healthcare is delivered, especially in the rural and hard to reach areas with the involvement of private sector. At Ovade, we have witnessed encouraging results anchored on community engagement of the private sector and better quality of care in this community that was not present prior to this intervention. For us to change the way healthcare is delivered in rural areas, we need the government leading the process, with dedicated support from the private sector for effectiveness and efficiency. Trust in the healthcare system is essential for us to achieve UHC and this framework which is anchored on sustainability, scalability, transparency, effectiveness, and efficiency is a model which must be studied.
“It’s crucial that when implementing a new innovation, that you select dedicated and passionate partners. Delta State has taken the lead with DG of the Commission Dr Ben Nkechika who has worked tirelessly to ensure that the State Government provides an enabling environment for the framework to succeed.
“I believe this is a very important project not just for PharmAccess, but for Nigeria. Based on the lessons we have learned so far, we are looking to replicate this framework across as many other abandoned primary healthcare centers across the country as possible with the appropriate enabling environments. I want to thank the Outreach team, led by Dr Dosekun and Dr Segun Ebitanmi of Outreach Hospital Lagos for their dedication and service to humanity.”
Also speaking, the Director General of the Delta State Contributory Health Commission (DSCHC), Dr Ben Nkechika expressed delight on the impact of the project in the community. He went on to assure the agency’s full support to help the healthcare workers in delivering quality services.
He said: “Through this project, there’s good evidence of clinical service, good evidence of community and authority engagement, and there’s also great evidence of adequate healthcare delivery to the people which meets their expectations. The fact that there’s good participation from the local government chairman to the Executive secretary, to the community leaders is very encouraging.”
“The Access to Finance Program is strategically designed to reach the unreachable and ensure that no one is left behind in the healthcare space in Delta. We will continue to support the work in Oghara, and we thank Outreach and PharmAccess Foundation for their immense support to achieve this level of service. We will continue to ensure that the bills are paid on time so that the work can go on smoothly.”
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Outreach Medical Services, Dr Efunbo Dosekun, thanked all the partners for their support and the community for welcoming the team. She noted that in addition to healthcare services,” we are currently already providing clean water for the communities, and we will soon provide solar/inverter energy. We have treated over 1,500 children affected by the epidemic over the last one year. We have witnessed a 500% increase in antenatal care with over 45 deliveries and over 100 pregnant women currently nearing their expected delivery dates. In addition, there has been increase in immunization because we educated them on the importance of immunization”.
“And in the next one year, we hope that everyone in Oghara has good health knowledge to sustain healthy lifestyle, surveillance screening, relevant immunization access like tetanus vaccine for all farmers, and people with illness can access the center early before second tier or tertiary care is required.”
The Representative of the Ovade Community, Chief Frederick Efefaroro expressed gratitude to PharmAccess and DSCHC for identifying Ovade and bringing the project to the community. He went on to pledge his support for the scheme, assuring that he will do his part to enlighten the indigenes of the community on the importance of the project.