Agency trains 30 workers to coordinate service delivery in primary health care centres in Nigeria

The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) is training 30 of its staff for better coordination of service delivery by primary healthcare centres (PHCs) across Nigeria.

The six-month programme, ‘Leadership Development Academy’, was organised by the agency in collaboration with Solina Health and is being funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

According to organisers, the training became necessary to provide technical assistance to all 37 state arms of the NPHCDA, including the federal capital territory.

During an orientation exercise organised for those selected for the training on Thursday in Abuja, Faisal Shuaib, the NPHCDA Executive Director, said the agency set up the programme to deliver interventions to increase the number of skilled NPHCDA workforce and “continually invest in its staff capacity strengthening to optimize their effectiveness and work efficiency.”

Mr Shauib explained that the 30 ‘enrollees’ were selected among many other level 10-14 workers who applied from the six geo-political zones after a competitive computer-based assessment test.

“The agency underwent a competitive process, leveraging the recently completed computer-based assessment to select 30 enrollees.”

Some of the selected participants expressed delight over the opportunity.

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One of them, Olalekan Oladele, the South West Zonal Planning Research and Statistics focal person, said the selection process was transparent.

He said the training would empower them to better assist states in executing primary health care programmes and policies.

“We are very pleased as enrollees as this training would help us improve on our skills as professionals. The skills we will acquire will help us contribute to the NPHCDA meeting its goal of widening access to primary health care.”

Another participant, Fatima Wanka, the North-West Zonal Technical Officer, said the training would boost her leadership capacity. She also spoke about her expectations.

“What we are participating in is a sort of train- the- trainer programme. But we will be working through states primary health agencies. We will be providing them with technical support; we will train them from the state to Local Governments and community level and follow up with technical support for all interventions”, Ms Wanka said.

The past failures to create a working structure for a people-oriented Primary Health Care (PHC) in Nigeria brought about the establishment of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) in 1992.

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Its mission is to provide leadership that supports the promotion and implementation of high quality and sustainable primary health care for all through resource mobilisation, partnerships, collaboration, development of community-based systems and functional infrastructure.

The system is still dogged by multiple challenges despite billions of naira spent over the decades on health facilities by the government at different levels.

Less than 20 per cent of the 30,000 public PHCs in the country is fully functional, a survey by a nongovernmental body, CISLAC, said.

“The NPHCDA leadership Development Academy will deliver advanced, cutting-edge leadership and management skills that will uniquely position the NPHCDA staff to solve critical PHC problems, communicate effectively, work collaboratively in teams, own and drive their personal and Agency development. To sum it up – become leaders in the Agency”, the agency’s boss noted.

“The enrollees will learn how to apply focus leadership and management skills to deliver high impact technical assistance to promote effective PHC service delivery.”

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