by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
The Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Primary Health Care (PHC) Agency, Alhaji Hamza Abubakar, has clarified the reasons why they’ve not been having cash backing desired to move the agency forward in the past few years.
The ES made the disclosure during an advocacy visit to the agency by Kaduna Maternal Accountability Mechanism (KADMAM) and RMNCAH-N champion, saying it was due to financial constraints in the state.
“You are all aware that for the past few years, we’ve not had the desired level of cash backing we need to move primary healthcare system forward to provide optimal services for our people.
“There were reasons. We all know what the country is going through. The fact of the matter is that, the money was not really there,” he said, while explaining that even though, the agency was not happy for not getting the kinds of cash backing needed, it understood with government that the money was not there, for obvious reasons, that everybody know because of the problem being faced globally.
Abubakar stated that the agency understood with the government on the lack of funds because of the economic constraints many would always also link to the outbreak of Covud-19 pandemic, among others.
“Covid-19 was really a huge hindrance, economically, in the sense that there was a kind of reversal of economic progress because of what most of the countries are passing through now, and it presents priority and competition that becomes a threat to the normal routine service.
“If you’ve been getting N500 million from government before, you may be getting N200 million now because of economic constraints. It’s nobody’s fault; only God knows what happened. All the money has to be spent in controlling the pandemic.
“So, it was not just looking at putting the monies at health; you have to put it in security; education was there suffering. And if you know, as CSOs and RAMCH-N champion, even the issue of rape and domestic violence shut up during the Covid-19 lockdown. They came and had to be addressed,” he lamented.
On the follow-up re-writing memo for reminder, the ES explained that they have their annual operational plans with dates of commencement of each activity, adding that when the time came, they wrote for the necessary release to planning and cash backing memos to the finance.
He, however, realised the need for early memo and promised to ensure it’s done much more earlier than before due to delay occasioned as a result of bureaucratic bottlenecks, instead of waiting till the time of the activities is about to occur – which had been the normal practice.
On family planning commodities consumables and distribution, the ES explained that the items are procured centrally by Federal Government and, therefore, causes a lot of delay most times.
He also added that Kaduna State Government sought for the mandate for self procurement and distribution due to the delay, and was given approval with the release of N250 million, but lamented that there was no cash backing up till date, asking KADMAM, CSOs and other partners to help them in that direction.
Abubakar also appealed that staff absenteeism, abscondment of staffs from facilities or duties, among other issues, should be reported to the primary health before being taken to open Kaduna, while recruitment of new ones is being slowed for lack of money.
He also disclosed that they are introducing a lot of changes at PHC centres, which include staff name tags, display of signboard of services available and those free, with phone numbers of situation room for immediate reports of staff general misconduct, emergencies situation report, amongst others, to improve activities across faculties.
Earlier, leader of KADMAM advocacy team and RMNCAH-N champion, Haj. Hauwa Saulawa, complained to the ES of late release of funds and cash backing for PHC activities, especially reproductive health, as well as requisition and shortage of staffs in some facilities.
She also expressed dismay and doubt that the ES said the cash backing of the N250 million they advocated for since last year, 2022, has not been met till the first quarter of the 2023.
Madam Hajara Abdukadir, a RMNCAH-N champion and member of advocacy team, who spoke to out reporter in an interview, expressed delight with the responses of the ES, saying, it shows that he has been up and doing ahead of the them, amongst main leader of RMNCAH-N.