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Anambra committed to support Primary Healthcare Agency initiatives

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ANAMBRA State Government has restated commitment to support the state Primary Healthcare Development Agency (ASPHCDA), in the upcoming Community Health Influencers and Promoters Services Programme (CHIPS) in the state.

   Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala made the pledge in Awka, during an advocacy visit by the Executive Secretary of the Agency, Dr Chioma Ezenyimulu, who came with her team to his office at the Jerome Udoji Secretariat Complex, Awka. 

The commissioner noted that the agency had played important roles at the grassroots under the leadership of Dr Ezenyimulu.  

He also extended his gratitude to  `The Challenge Initiative (TCI), for their support in the health sector of the state. 

“With respect to CHIPS, it is truly a great thing that the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund is coming through. 

 “We are looking at a time where the insurance aspect of it will also come through because it will help our people. 

“It is good that we start having an anchoring structure that will help in fund’s utilisation, so that this money will have value when it gets to the community. 

“CHIPS will be one of those structures that will help this to happen. Looking at the things they are going to do like, counseling on community watch programmes, are they identifying things like diarrhea and educating people on malaria?” 

He noted that it was disturbing about six to seven months ago, when there were reports of children deaths across the state due to dehydration stemming from diarrhea. 

“I swung into action by checking hospitals where it occurred and it also came to the attention of the state House of Assembly members because some of them called me. 

“I started noticing that things people should know were taken for granted and that was to recognise diarrhea and dehydration both at the community and at healthcare provider levels. 

“We have a huge knowledge gap because children have been managed in private hospitals by specialists and they still die from dehydration.  

“So, there is a big gap in identifying dehydration among mothers and, also a big knowledge gap in managing dehydration among providers especially when it gets to severe dehydration.” 

According to him, any child that is presented to hospitals with severe dehydration and is not yet in the worst condition should not die but that happened nevertheless. 

“CHIPS will help in early identification and intervention so that children with diarrhea that might have the tendency of leading to dehydration will not die. 

“This also applies to many other diseases and it is a great initiative,” he said. 

Dr Ezenyimulu said that the visit was to inform the commissioner about the flag-off of the CHIPS Programme in the state. 

  She explained that the programme was initiated by the National Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) to address the identified gaps and inefficiencies observed in primary healthcare services at community levels. 

She noted that the programme was premised on the assertion; `An Effective Primary Health Care System with a strong community level component is a Foundation for Achieving Universal Health Coverage. 

  “The programme will undertake the following, promote community participation, demand generation and conduct behavior change communication. 

 “It will counsel, offer basic preventive care, identify health problems, provide pre-referral care and follow-up support and care for Maternal, Newborn Health Services and others.” 

According to her, the CHIPS programme will be first implemented across seven local government areas namely; Aguata, Anambra East, Awka South, Anaocha, Ekwusigo, Ihiala and Ogbaru and 35 wards across some other selected LGAs in the state. 

“In the coming days, we will commence stakeholder’s engagements, training of state and LGA levels master trainers and subsequent engagement of volunteers.”

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