Determined to build on milestones attained  in managing the Coronavirus pandemic, President Muhammadu Buhari has given his consent to Nigeria hosting an international summit on Primary Health Care.

Health managers are fine-tuning details of the global summit which is expected to leverage on efforts in kicking the wild polio virus out of the country and the deft management of COVID-19.

Barring last minute changes, the summit will hold in Abuja before the end of October or early November in actualisation of the promise made earlier by the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib to prioritise strengthening the PHC system through a robust revitalisation agenda.

“My vision is to strengthen PHC systems to deliver affordable, accessible and equitable services to all Nigerians. It is in this light that we will be convening a global PHC Summit in 2021 with the theme: Strengthening PHC towards achieving universal health coverage in post-Polio, pre-COVID era.

“The overall goal of the summit is to galvanize stakeholders and present a compelling investment case for PHC financing, leveraging on the gains made during the polio eradication to strengthen PHC systems from 2021 to 2030. I am optimistic that this event will be a success and a global agenda to be reckoned with,” Shuaib said.

The summit aligns with the “Next Level Agenda” of the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire on addressing the inadequacy of primary health care services across the country and the need to revitalise one PHC in each ward in demonstration of prioritizing community based health care and scaling up the Community Health Influencers, Promoters and Services (CHIPS), programme launched by President Buhari in 2018 at Lafia, Nasarawa state.4

CHIPS is designed to improve access and equitable coverage to essential health services, especially those relating to maternal, new born and child survival. It will also remove barriers to PHC services; ensure supply of integrated PHC interventions by linking the health workforce at health centres in rural and underserved communities to the households; tackling delays in decision to seek care, reaching care and receiving adequate healthcare.

At a meeting with federal lawmakers, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha had said COVID-19 provided a unique opportunity to x-ray the state of Nigeria’s health care sector which is in dire need of reforms and funding.

“The weaknesses in our health system became more glaring as we see how more established health systems in Europe and America buckled under pressure. There’s no doubt that a strengthened and well-resourced health system will not only place the country in a better position to deal with future emerging infections but will also provide a solid foundation for medical research and development,” said Mustapha.