The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has reinstated the Federal Government’s commitment to revive no fewer than 10,000 primary healthcare centres in the country to cater for health of Nigerians.
Ehanire said this when some members of Association of Nigeria Health Journalists (ANHEJ), led by its President, Mr Hassan Zaggi visited the minister in his office on Friday in Abuja.
He said the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari was trying to create a balance to provide health facilities for all Nigerians, even those in the rural areas, villages, and difficult to access areas.
“That is the reason that we should not forget those people by creating at least one health centre in every political ward of the country; almost 10,000 primary health care to be revitalised.
“Many of them are already there because they are neglected, they are being revived and modernised and the standard expectation of a primary health care now is that it should have modern facilities and infrastructure.
“We also expect digital service so we can be able to take care of many of the diseases that occur. We do it in partnership with States and the Local Governments.
“The Federal Government has been teaming with the local government to create the network; our expectation is that 60 per cent of diseases in the country can be taken care by the Primary Health Cares,’’ he said.
The minister told the journalists that their work was very important, saying“ you are the medium between the ministry and the public.
“It is important that information is passed on accurately and correctly. You must get your facts correctly. I assure you that we are always available to give you right information.’’
Similarly, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, the Minister of State for Health, urged the journalists to always get their facts correctly before publishing any report.
“We will definitely feel bad if you report us wrongly; I can assure you that the leadership of the ministry is willing to answer your query at any time.
“I can also assure you that we are media friendly and I am happy with this media partnership that we solidifying today.
“We will be ready to make clarifications when the need arises; I want to assure you that we will be having regular interactions with you now,’’ he said.
Also, Dr Jospeh Amedu, Director of Hospital Services in the ministry, assured the journalists of the ministry’s collaboration in covering its programmes and activities.
“If you look at the Federal Teaching Hospitals, they are making a lot of breakthrough in terms of providing health care to Nigerians.
“ We expect you to also publicise the good things that are happening in the sector,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Sani Gwarzo, a director in the minister’s office, advised the journalists to include lectures on communicating health in their forthcoming conference.
“The test of our relationship usually come when there is high risk communication period like Ebola period, when we have outbreak or sensational event arising.
“The partnership with the ministry this movement, when things are calm is coming at the right movement.
“On our part, we are also bracing up to ensure that health information comes across to you,’’ he said.
Earlier, Zaggi told Ehanire that expectations from Nigerians and stakeholders were high and that citizens were looking forward to see a new health sector.
“You should do your best to ensure that Nigerians get the best health care.
“As journalists covering this beat, we want to assure you that we will support you to be sure that your objectives and programmes are known to Nigerians.
“For us to be able to work with you and support you there should be an environment where both of us will understand each other.
“Our work is always time conscious; sometimes, a journalist will be under pressure to seek for clarification on issues and seek for information.
“ But if the information is not handy, he will be forced to use any available information, so we want to appeal to you to make your door open for us,’’ he said.
The official also appealed to the minister to give the members information when the need arises and in good time.
“ The pressure on us it so much; Nigerians are anxious to hear from us and our editors are anxious to get stories from us; we also request you to have regular engagement with us,’’ he said.
Zaggi, however, invited the minister to the association’s Annual Conference coming up on Nov, 28th to declare it open.