Experts of the Nigerian health sector at the recently concluded 3rd National Human Resources for Health Conference gathered to discuss how a skilled and motivated workforce is required to deliver health services needed to achieve Nigeria’s health goals, thereby achieving sustainable and effective public health systems. The theme for this year’s conference “Strengthening Human Resources for Health towards Revitalisation of Primary Health Care Centres (PHCs) in Nigeria”.
The conference aimed to raise the profile of the issues around human resources for health and mobilise investment. It also appraised Nigeria’s preparedness to supply a health workforce for PHCs by 2019 and review Nigeria’s commitments from the third Global HRH Forum in Recife, Brazil.
The conference was declared open by the Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire who called on delegates and stakeholders – government and private sector to make stronger collaboration necessary to strengthen health workforce capacity in Nigeria; noting that a competent health workforce is required to improve quality in health service provision.
The Managing Director of SFH Sir Bright Ekweremadu represented by the Deputy Managing Director Operations Mr Kene Eruchalu stated that the year’s theme was an important one as it addresses a major policy thrust of the Federal Government which is to revitalize 10,000 primary health care centres (PHCs). He also informed the gathering of delegates from the 36 states and FCT that “it is pertinent to create a sustainable public health workforce with capacity that goes beyond training; but encompasses proper planning and management of the workforce; setting strategies for producing new health workforce and adequate recruitment of medical personnel with the desired skills mix into the public health system. It also includes strengthening quality in-service training, mentorship and supervision; and provision of suitable retention incentives”.
At the SFH stand, over 250 persons visited and were enlightened on SFH’s contributions to human resources for health through its projects and interventions. Since inception in 1985, SFH has worked with the government at the Federal and state levels to strengthen the capacity of human resources for health to improve access to care in our areas of intervention. In Abia, with support from WHO, SFH and the Abia state government has trained and deployed 151 Community Health Workers (CHEWs) and 1,351 community-oriented resource persons on Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) and Integrated Community Case Management (ICCM) for the provision of quality care in management of childhood illnesses at community levels in 15 LGAs in the state.
SFH presently works with the Gombe State Government to improve effective coverage of life-saving maternal and new born health with support from the Gates Foundation. This intervention has trained and deployed 1,145 village health workers in 57 Wards as at December 2016. Leveraging on the task shifting policy, SFH with support from USAID trained and deployed (CHEW) interpersonal communication conductors to create demand and provide maternal and child health services in communities across 18 states in Nigeria. With further support from USAID and GF, SFH has trained and coached over 54,000 Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) on different health areas which include appropriate malaria case management, use of rapid diagnostic test for diagnosis; family planning, maternal and child health products and services. Some of the training manual used in these interventions and a host of other related materials which were developed by SFH were showcased at the stand for the guests, who showed interest in the activities of SFH’s Learning and Development Center.
The three days’ conference which held 18th– 20th July,2017 at Nicon Luxury Hotel, Abuja was organised by the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with partners.