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Cholera: Don’t divert ₦260bn PHCs revitalisation fund, APC chieftain begs Govs

He urged President Bola Tinubu to ensure that a strict measure was put in place for the effective utilisation of the money to tackle the outbreak of diseases.

Nigerian Governors Forum [NGF]

Oyintiloye, in a chat with newsmen on Sunday in Osogbo, said that with the recent outbreak of cholera in the country, primary healthcare centres must be well-equipped to rescue the situation.

According to him, many PHCs in the country cannot provide essential health care services due to the challenges of inadequate equipment, poor conditions of service, and lack of essential drugs, among others.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Muhammad Pate, had on May 24, said ₦260 billion had been earmarked for the revitalisation of PHCs across the country.

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According to Pate, the N260 billion is currently available at the state level “for the revitalisation of their primary healthcare centres.”

Oyintiloye, however, appealed to state governors not to divert the money, but to use it wisely to equip the PHCs in their states to curb the spread of cholera outbreak and other diseases.

He said with the recent report that the death toll from the cholera outbreak has hit 40, PHCs which is always the first point of call for people in the period of emergency, must be strengthened.

The APC chieftain said the disclosure by the minister that plans were underway to expand the PHCs from 8,300 to 17,000 through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and make them functional to deliver essential services, was also commendable.

Oyintiloye, however, expressed worry that, if the fund, which is already at the state level, is not monitored, it could be diverted and the PHCs might not have the needed capacity to tackle the cholera outbreak in the country.

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He, however, urged President Bola Tinubu to ensure that a strict measure was put in place for the effective utilisation of the money to tackle the outbreak of diseases.

“I commend the president for prioritising the health of Nigerians with the release of N260 billion to revitalise the dilapidated PHCs in the country.

“The only fear I have now is how this fund will not be diverted by the governors at this critical period of cholera outbreak.

“The PHCs in the country are currently at their worst level and that is why the fund released for its revitalisation must not be allowed to be messed with.

“Since all the states of the federation have been mobilised for the revitalisation of the PHCs, governors should not allow greed to prevent them from doing the right thing to tackle the scourge of the cholera outbreak,” he pleaded.

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Oyintiloye, a member of the defunct APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), said that for Nigeria to improve its poor health indices, there is a need to prioritise and improve the PHC facilities to be able to withstand sudden outbreaks of diseases such as cholera.

He also urged Nigerians to cultivate habits of cleanliness, especially at this period when the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said the country does not have enough vaccines against the disease.

Oyintiloye said in the same vein, the government must start educating people on hand washing and also to desist from open defecation, among other measures.

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