NGOs urge government to declare state of emergency on healthcare as they launch COVID-19 tracking website

NIGERIA – A coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), has urged the federal government to declare a state of emergency on primary healthcare services in Nigeria.

The Nigerian healthcare sector generally consists of all the organizations that provide medical services, manufacture medical equipment or drugs, provide medical insurance, or otherwise facilitate the provision of healthcare to patients in Nigeria.

Due to the type of government system in Nigeria, there are three tiers for healthcare provision in the country; namely: primary healthcare, secondary healthcare and tertiary healthcare.

The federal government has a responsibility to organize tertiary health services. Meanwhile, the state government provides secondary health services, and the local government is expected to take care of primary health services.

The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks Nigeria 187 out of 190 in World Health Systems only ahead of Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic and Myanmar.

Mr Hamzat Lawal, Chief Executive Officer, Connected Development (CODE), said this at the launch of COVID-19 Africa Tracking Website, towards supporting COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP) in Abuja.

Lawal, also founder, Follow the Money, said the NGO has been able to increase citizens participation and ensure greater accountability in the healthcare sector through its efforts in tracking COVID-19 funds.

We are calling on government to make public the implementation plan of deployment and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. We embarked on field work to get information on the state of primary healthcare in Nigeria in readiness to receive and distribute this vaccine across the country.”

Data collected from 90 primary healthcare centers by Follow the Money shows that infrastructure development requires urgent attention from the Nigerian government and thus the call on government to declare this a national emergency.

We have also observed that most of the primary healthcare centers do not have access to water and electricity,” he said.

Lawal said that in some cases doctors, nurses and officials in primary healthcare centers had to use rechargeable lanterns or mobile phones to be able to serve the people.

Mr Gabriel Okeowo, CEO Budgit, said that Budgit, Follow the Money under CODE with its learning partners-Global Integrity decided to launch the CTAP website to track COVID-19 resources.

Okeowo said this was because a lot of resources were committed to the fight against COVID-19.

So, this initiative in tracking and reporting the activities and resources that is going into CTAP is part of the initiative and effort to position Africa in the right path.

This is for us to be able to redeem our image before the international community and then be able to account for resources that has been committed to the fight against COVID-19.

“Record has it that so far we had almost 50 billion dollars committed to COVID-19 across Africa, so this website that we are launching is a one stop center for everyone,” he said.

Okeowo said that people across Africa and other parts of the world would be able to see what fund was committed to what country and what were the data saying generally, because data don’t lie.

He added that the website was a collection of data, relevant to COVID-19 transparency and accountability.

Ms Adaora Okoye, Communications Associate, CODE, said that the website had flexible navigation and functionality that allowed visitors to access all data on COVID-19 in Africa, including intervention resources.

Okoye said that information on funds allocations and palliative distributions could also be accessed using the website.

Our primary goal for designing this website is to improve citizens use of data for advocacy and open governance.

“The website currently displays information on 51.05billion dollars resources committed to COVID-19 across Africa, 5.08billion dollars in kind donation as well as over 2,532 COVID-19 datasets across Africa,” She said.

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