Senate has ordered the suspension of the federal government plan to build new primary health centres in each of the wards across the country until the relevant agency provides details about the funding of such project.
Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Primary Health and Communicable Diseases has said that such policy was not viable for now due to lack of fund.
The committee noted that the said multi-billion naira programme was not also captured in the 2017 budget, adding that the N3 million provided for each of the existing similar centres across the country in the 2016 budget barely paid the salaries of the health personnel in some local governments.
Already, the National Health Care Development Agency said it has commenced the training of 20 women in each ward of the Federation to handle the proposed health centres under its Community Health Programme initiative. Executive Secretary of the agency Dr Faiza Shuaibu said that the new programme was in addition to the National midwifery scheme for which may spend over N800 million this year for its implementation.
But Senate in its wisdom has told the agency to forget such policy saying that it would amount to waste of public funds to create new health centres when many of such centres have been abandoned across the land due to lack of fund.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Primary Health and communicable diseases, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa in a meeting with officials of the agency said funding of such policy was a problem now. He said that the committee would rather want the agency to consider building such centres in the 774 local government areas as a pilot scheme to see how it can work first.
The Sen Ohuabunwa-led committee told the committee to also give details of the funding of the project, saying state government had in the past left such responsibility for the federal government.
He told the Agency to either build such health centres where there is none or to revitalise the one already in the system and make it functional which you know that appropriation of funds has also been the problem.