Irabor and Quality Healthcare for Military Personnel
By Abdulsalam Mahmud,
It is necessary that the officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces are hale and hearty, at all times. This is necessary to put them in good shape as they battle every security threats bedevilling the country.
For the leadership of the Nigerian military, there is only one government agency that can assist the Armed Forces with world-class healthcare services.
It is the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), whose cardinal job is to provide technical directions for the development of primary health care in Nigeria, and also to make PHC services available to all in Nigeria.
The NPHCDA is equally saddled with the responsibility of providing technical and programmatic support to states, LGAs, and other stakeholders in the functioning, planning, implementation, supervision and monitoring of PHC services in Nigeria.
The NPHCDA, established in 1992, and merged with the National Programme on Immunization (NPI) in 2007, is the domestic development agency for health.
Between 1986 and 1992, remarkable and innovative progress was made in the development of Primary Health Care, focusing on the Local Government Areas (LGAs), resulting in Nigeria being placed in the front rank of countries in the world that have advanced the process of equitably improving the health and quality of life of its people through primary health care.
In order to capitalize on these achievements, and sustain Federal assistance to the LGAs, the National Primary Health care Development Agency was established following the recommendation of a high level WHO review team through Decree 29 of 1992.
Its mandate include: providing support to the National Health Policy for the development of Primary Health Care: providing technical support for planning, management and implementation of Primary Health Care; mobilizing resources nationally and internationally for the development of Primary Health Care; and providing support for monitoring and evaluation of the National Health Policy.
Others are: promoting health manpower development needed for Primary Health Care through orientation and continuing education; providing support to the Village Health System by training Village Health Workers; promoting Health System Research by promoting and supporting problem-oriented health system research; and also, promoting technical collaboration by stimulating Universities, NGOs and International Agencies.
Part of NPHCDA’s mandates is also, providing annual reports on the status of Primary Health Care implementation nationwide.
To further improve healthcare services for members of the Armed Forces, and the nation, in general, General Lucky Irabor, has expressed the readiness of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) in sustaining the collaborative healthcare arrangement with the National Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
Irabor, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), made the disclosure during the visit of the management Staff of the agency, to his office at the Defence Headquarters (DHQ).
He said the AFN would continue the partnership given its commitment to ensuring good healthcare system for personnel and their families.
He commended NPHCDA for championing the eradication of polio virus and other childhood diseases in the country.
The NPHCDA Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said he was at the Defence Headquarters to solicit the support of the military towards ensuring that children in the various areas affected by insecurity are vaccinated against any form of disease, especially the circulating Mutating Polio Virus.
The Executive Director indicated that the NPHCDA and its partners are working to reach security compromised locations in the country so as to halt the scourge.
He applauded the CDS for his pragmatic leadership and commended the resilience and gallantry of the members of the AFN, particularly troops in the theatres of operation.
It is incontrovertible that even with the availability of modern firearms and sophisticated ammunition at their disposal, officers and men of the Nigerian armed forces will be no match for terrorists and other criminal elements (that are armed to the teeth) if they are not sound mentally, physically and medically.
There are several troops of the Nigerian military who are now bedridden not as a result of injuries or wounds suffered in battle fronts, but from the afflictions of minor ailments and other communal diseases. It is the same story for many families of our fallen heroes.
However, there seems to be a glimmer of hope now, in the wake of the collaboration the Irabor-led DHQ wants to forge with NPHCDA. The partnership is one that will tremendously cater for not only personnel of the military, but their indigent families.
One sure thing is that the healthcare services to be rendered by NPHCDA personnel to military personnel and their families will not only be cheap, and world-class, but readily affordable–as envisaged by Gen. Leo Irabor.
Mahmud Abdulsalam is an Assistant Editor PRNigeria
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