The World Health Organization country representative, Dr Walter Mulombo has commended the resilient effort of building an effective health system through the launch of the Community-based Health research, innovative training, and services programme in Nigeria, saying its an avenue to tap into the existing human resources for health and bridge the skills gap to enable the higher levels of care.

Dr. Walter who stated this on Monday during the CRISP training in Abuja, said the advent of COVID-19 has shown beyond infrastructure, equipment, medicines, and vaccines, as highly skilled, motivated health workers are needed to continue to provide care even in any circumstances.

Stressing that adequacy in the numbers of health workers is key to enhancing equity in access to their services considering the country’s population and its priority to health needs.

“The strength of every health system reflects the capacity and adequacy of its health workforce, which are necessary to deliver quality services to address population health needs. Nigeria has over time experienced chronic under-investment in planning, education, training, employment and working conditions of health workers, and the mismatch between education and employment strategies in relation to health systems and population needs are contributing to continuous shortages.

“The plan to recruit health workers and deployed them to PHC facilities across the country is very commendable. WHO Nigeria will be with you to provide technical support to the CRISP of NPHCDA to achieve its aims. We will work with you to develop strategies to improve the performance and retention of Health workers in rural and remote areas.

“This needs to be well thought out, so as not to make the PHCs an extension of the Tertiary hospitals, but to continue to provide primary health services to meet the population’s priority health needs. the launch of the Community-based Health research, innovative training, and services programme. “Especially, as a policy response following the dialogue at the 2022 PHC summit. This is much needed right now as the focus globally, has shifted recently to improving the health workforce as an avenue to achieve Universal Health Coverage. “This was further reiterated at the last Global Health Workforce forum convened by WHO in April 2023 calling for more investment in Health workers.

“This programme came at a time when WHO has been awarded a grant of GBP 2 million by the government of the United Kingdom to support Nigeria to strengthen its health workforce towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.”

WHO country representative further harped on its continuous support to working with government MDAs including NPHCDA to optimize the performance, quality, and impact of the health workforce through evidence-informed policies and strategies for the attainment of universal health coverage in the country.

 

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