The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Dr. Anne E. Patterson on Thursday joined the Minister of State for Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Hajia Ramatu Tijani Aliyu to inaugurate a new primary health care Steering Committee that will help the FCT Administration improve access and delivery of primary health care to its three million constituents.
The committee was established through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between USAID and the FCT signed in December 2020 to help guide a plan of health systems reform to improve primary care service delivery. This complements an Operations Committee inaugurated in June 2021 also established under the pact. The committees provide planning leadership and milestone review as to whether performance targets are being met as agreed upon in the MOU. Ultimately, the goal is improved quality and access to health services for the citizens of FCT.
“We recognize the important role strong and resilient health systems play in guaranteeing universal access to health services and improving health outcomes.” Dr. Patterson said at the inauguration. “This new Steering Committee will play a vital role in guiding our primary health care partnership to success.”
The five-year MOU guides the FCTA in financing and managing resources, staffing, and administering immunization programs among other facets of a strong primary health care program. It establishes a comprehensive work plan with adequate budget that will be shared with partners for review and feedback. For example, a critical challenge common to many of Nigeria’s public health authorities responsible for primary health care is the recruitment and reassignment of adequate numbers of skilled health workers.
The committee will be co-chaired by Minister of State Aliyu and USAID Director Patterson, and will include senior FCT Health officials and a representative from the Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria.
USAID said it will support implementation of the MOU through four key activities, including the Integrated Health Program providing reproductive and maternal, child health and nutrition services, the Procurement and Supply Chain Mechanism to improve commodities logistics and supply chain management, social and behavioral change messaging through Breakthrough Action-Nigeria, and Health Workforce Management to build the capacity of health workers.