Alhaji Saad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, on Tuesday tasked government at all levels on adequate construction and equipping of health facilities to help in the effective healthcare delivery.
The Sultan made the call while declaring open the first quarter review meeting of Northern Traditional Leaders Committee(NTLC) on Primary Health Care, which centered on an update on Kaduna State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report that the major focus of the meeting was to receive update on Community Health Influencers, Promoters and Services(CHIPS) initiative launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018.
The CHIPS initiative is aimed at using community based women to improve maternal and child health care, part of which includes educating women on importance of visiting health facilities when the need arises in order to avert deaths from preventable diseases.
Abubakar, who decried the deplorable status of health care facilities in the country said, “I will like us to talk about the position of our healthcare facilities across the towns and villages.
“You can’t come around with such programme, CHIPS, advocating about going to clinics for antenatal and you don’t have the clinics. There are so many buildings across the villages in the name of clinics, but there’s no nurses, nothing.
“So, we will want to see states and Federal Government embark on construction and equipping of full healthcare facilities across the villages and towns where we have large population of our people,” he said.
He assured that traditional leaders in the North would do everything humanly possible in ensuring that new born and mother’s live healthy.
He said provision for manpower, drugs and shelter are very paramount in ensuring adequate and effective healthcare delivery.
The Sultan assured Nigerians that, “we will not relent until we have a total and healthier society, because without a healthy society you cannot do anything, so health is very important to all our people.
“We have talked about polio, but there are also killer diseases and other diseases ravaging our communities, so it’s our responsibility to continue this serious work in a much stronger capacity.”
The Sultan, who admitted that the traditional leaders in ten years have recorded tremendous success in the Polio eradication programme, however, noted that the disease was not the only health challenge bedeviling the country.
“We also have so many other diseases and one of them is hunger.
“We will continue to work strongly with stakeholders and government at all levels until we achieve total health coverage in all our communities across the Northern states in particular,” he said.
Earlier, the Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said the meeting was to focus on how the traditional rulers can use their unique position as custodians of heritage and culture to mobilise people in communities for improved Primary Health Care, especially on CHIPS.
Shuaib said the traditional leaders have recorded success in polio eradication programme and such success can be replicated in the CHIPS initiative.
According to him, the point to note is how they have been able to provide leadership in all ramifications towards polio eradication, especially as they have assisted in casting away doubts on polio vaccines and immunisation.
“When community members saw their leaders are advocating for immunisation and vaccines, they came out and started receiving it. As you can see, we are just five months away from been declared a polio free nation. This is significant,” he said.
He added that the first quarter meeting was aimed at expanding the horizon of the traditional leaders in terms of what they would be engaging in.
“Moving forward, they will be taking up the role President Buhari asked them to take —which is providing leadership around CHIPS programme.
“President Buhari has put in place and laid a solid foundation for a day in future where no Nigerian will be denied access to health care because they can’t afford it,” Shuaib said.