By Abdallah el-Kurebe
Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state has said that human resources and access to healthcare services were some of the challenges that have beleaguered the state over the years.
He spoke on Thursday at the opening of USAID/TSHIP End of Project Dissemination Meeting that marks the end of the five-year partnership programme between Sokoto State government and United States of America.
While commending US government for the various development programmes, which include Immunization Basics, TSHIP, NEI, LEAD, Engender Health, and MSH, among many others, Tambuwal noted that “like in many other states in Nigeria, the health systems in Sokoto state need to be strengthened in order to function at their optimum.
“In Sokoto, we face the challenges of human resources, access to healthcare services and supplies.”
According to him, the challenges have resulted in high maternal and infant morbidity and mortality, low immunization coverage, low ante natal attendance and high home deliveries.
“As a result of these challenges, the state government will take over the funding of the Community-Based Health Volunteer programme,” Tambuwal said adding that the sum N9.3 million was being spent monthly on the Volunteers.
He further said the Ministry of Health would expedite action on the take-off of Community Midwifery training programme as well as develop a Marshall plan for the training of 3000 community midwives.
According to the governor, efforts were being made to reduce concentration of health workers in few health facilities in urban local government areas to reach out to other facilities in rural areas.
Tambuwal restated the commitment of the state government to “strengthen health systems by procuring additional life-saving drugs and commodities that include misoprostod, chlorhexidine, SP, magnesium sulphate as well as Amoxicilin D.T. and oral rehydration salt and zinc.”
He stressed that the Ministry would be directed to update the state government on routine immunization and maternal child health. In the same vein, in order to achieve 30 percent coverage in routine immunization in the next four years, “we shall continue to track other indicators that are tracked at the national level, including number of deliveries, ante natal care attendance, current use of contraceptives and malaria prevention in pregnancy.”
He reiterated government’s readiness to continue to partner with USAID and other donor agencies to enable the state surmount the problems that threaten the health systems.