By Yashim Katurak
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it is currently rehabilitating 23 selected healthcare facilities in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, as part of efforts to strengthen the healthcare system in the North-east.
The WHO Nigeria Officer-in-Charge (OiC), Dr Clement Peter, made the disclosure in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.
He said that the rehabilitation was being carried out with funding support from the European Union (EU) and Global Affairs (GA) Canada.
The WHO OiC said that when completed, the facilities would enhance health care service delivery that could benefit up to 150,000 persons in those states.
He said that strengthening the health care systems remained a top priority of WHO’s health emergency response in north-east Nigeria.
“WHO is embarking on building the capacity of human resources for health, structural rehabilitation and provision of equipment to strengthen health care delivery in north-east Nigeria where insurgency has devastated services for over a decade.
“Out of the 23 healthcare facilities to be rehabilitated, nine will undergo comprehensive structural renovation; four are located in Yobe, four in Adamawa and one secondary health care facility in Borno.
“The rehabilitation will entail structural rehabilitation and renovation of the health and sanitary facilities and provision of equipment, drugs and medical supplies,” Peter said.
The statement quoted Dr Collins Owili, the WHO Emergency Manager in the north-east as saying “most of the healthcare facilities to be rehabilitated have either been partially destroyed by insurgents or over-stretched as a result of population displacements.
Owili said that in Yobe state, the Kukar Gadu Primary Health Centre, had the capacity to provide services to more than 11,000 persons.
He, however, said that due to population displacement, the facility had to cater to more than 21,000 persons including Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) currently living in Kukar Gadu community.
He said that after the implementation of the WHO intervention, the capacity at the Kukar Gadu centre would be increased to enable more than 20,000 persons adequately access medical treatment.
According to him, the rehabilitated health facilities will contribute to providing comprehensive care of children’s health, reproductive health, and treatment of severe and moderately acute malnutrition cases in addition to vaccination.
“Recent WHO assessment on the availability of health resources in the north-east region noted that 46 per cent of health facilities are either completely destroyed or damaged in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
“Also, nearly two million women are at reproductive age and 1.6 million men are sexually active.
“Consequently, populations in need of healthcare services, especially women and children, are either under-served or suffering from avoidable and treatable health conditions.
“The north eastern states have the worst indices of maternal and child mortality in Nigeria.
“Endemic malaria still accounts for more than 50 per cent of mortality and morbidity among children with acute respiratory tract infection, watery diarrhea and severe acute malnutrition as leading causes of illness,” Owili said.
WHO Emergency Manager said that in 2018, the organisation reached more than three million people with basic healthcare services including those in hard-to-reach locations across Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
He said that the organisation was coordinating health sector partners to target 5.1 million people for humanitarian health interventions in the region in 2019.