KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib has said the Federal Government is engaging 100,000 agents under the Community Health Influencers, Promoters and Services (CHIPS) programme to reduce high rate of maternal and child mortality and other primary healthcare challenges in Nigeria.
Dr. Shuaib stated this in an interview with newsmen shortly after the first meeting with Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Primary Health Care Delivery in Kaduna on Monday.
He said that CHIPS is a community-based programme whereby individuals with basic criteria including commitment, agility well known will be selected by traditional institution to carry out basic medical needs of the people in their communities, diagnose and call on the next point of call when necessary.
He added that the CHIPS agents must be residing within the community and would be adequately trained before deployment to render the services the programme is targeted.
The Executive Director said that the development became necessary because Nigeria is losing about one million women and children to preventable medical conditions.
Dr. Shuaib further stated that the gathering of the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on PHC at the event is to review what were achieved in 2017 and strategising for high priority intervention in the communities this year.
“This means going back to the basics, the community to engage the traditional institution knowing full well that we cannot have meaningful progress as regard provision of healthcare services to our people without listening to them.
“This is in furtherance of CHIPS programme that was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari two weeks ago in Nasarawa state where he asked us to roll it to every state through the traditional institution as closest to the people at grassroots.
“This became necessary because Nigeria is losing about one million women and under-5 children to totally preventable causes on yearly basis. Women are dying from bleeding before getting to facilities while children are also dying from malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia.
“So to reduce these deaths, these CHIPS agents will be living and working in their communities. For example, if there is complication around pregnancy, these CHIPS agents can raise alarm. It is all about reducing maternal and child deaths in the communities,” he said.
Dr. Shuaib said that the success of the initiative is on the traditional rulers,” they are expected to engage with their state government and other opinion leaders”.
Responding on behalf of the Traditional Leaders, Emir of Argungu in Kebbi State and Deputy Chairman, Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on PHC, Alhaji Mohammed Mera promised to make the programme work as envisaged by the FG and other interest organisations.
The meeting was attended by Traditional Rulers, officials of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and development partners among others.