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Obaseki: We’ve rejigged our healthcare system, focused on upgrading PHCs to improve access, quality service delivery

30 Jun 2024


…our govt has leveraged technology, addressed healthcare financing, others

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his administration has, in the last seven and a half years, undertaken bold reforms in the State’s healthcare sector to improve access to quality healthcare services to the people of the State.

Obaseki, who spoke to journalists in Benin City, said his government focused on the State’s primary healthcare system, upgrading the infrastructure and building the capacity of the workers to bring quality, efficient and effective healthcare services closer to the people.

The governor noted that his government has leveraged technology and introduced the Edo Health Insurance Scheme to address the problem of healthcare financing in the State, among other reform efforts, which he assured will ensure the sustainability of the gains recorded in the healthcare sector in the past few years.

According to him, “For us, the emphasis has been on primary healthcare. Part of our whole healthcare strategy is hinged on four key factors. The first is healthcare financing. Somebody must pay, unlike in the past when everybody relied on government expenditure which just didn’t help our healthcare system. Most people now pay out of pocket in Edo State.

“So, without the healthcare financing system, it will be difficult to sustain any healthcare system. What we have done is to launch the Edo State Health Insurance Scheme. We asked ourselves, with the government’s limited finance, where should the government spend its money? Is it in secondary care or primary care? We chose primary care.

“Then how should we approach primary care? We decided to approach primary care from two perspectives: primary care at the time had just buildings. We said no, it’s human capacity more than anything else that drives the healthcare system. Most of the primary healthcare workers we met were residents in the local governments, and because the local government structure was very weak and couldn’t support an efficient primary healthcare centre, it didn’t work.

“We had to set up a separate agency – the Primary Healthcare Development Agency. We moved the primary healthcare workers into that agency which we now share with the local governments. With that, we have control of them. We now changed their conditions of service and scheme of service to create more incentives for them to do the work and ensured adequate capacity building.”

He added, “Lastly, we adopted technology. If you go into any primary healthcare centre, we know you have come there because the healthcare workers take your vitals, record them and the doctor can see from the backend the condition of that patient and then follows up. Our goal is to have 200 of these primary health care centres across the State with one in every ward.”


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