A Civil Society for Malaria Control, Immunization and Nutrition (ACOMIN) has called on government at all levels to use current COVID-19 pandemic as a yard stick to improve the capacity of the health sector in various states and the nation as a whole.
The Kwara State Coordinator of ACOMIN, Mr Olatunbosun Oluwafemi made the call in Ilorin on Tuesday during the state Media Briefing on Global Fund Malaria Accountability and Advocacy Project.
Oluwafemi observed that the coronavirus pandemic had exposed the healthcare system in the country, stressing the need for government at all levels to improve health sector in the country.
Accessing the level of implementation of Global Fund Support Project in the state, he noted that advocacy and accountability programme being coordinated by ACOMIN had gone along way in recording significant success.
He mentioned high increase of attendance in the health facilities, improved attitude of health workers, putting government on their toes as well as encouraging and enlightening communities to take ownership of their facilities as some of the successes recorded through advocacy and accountability programme.
ACOMIN state coordinator however identified shortage of health workers as one of the greatest challenges confronting the implementation of free malaria society in the state.
He called on the Kwara state government to as a matter of urgency recruit more health workers to man health facilities especially in the rural areas as part of effort to ensure a free malaria society and fight pandemic COVID-19 in the state.
Oluwafemi who commended the state government on its current efforts at improving the health sector in the state, advised that the state government should increase manpower in the various basic health facilities to help in the fight against malaria.
In her presentation, the state Programme Officer for ACOMIN, Mrs Folake Iseyemi, said that people especially at the community level are scared of visiting the various health centres because of COVID-19 and called for improved sensitisation on the pandemic and the safety protocols to follow.
She added that CBOs were doing great work especially in the area of sensitization on malaria and COVID-19 and urged them to sustain the tempo.
Iseyemi added that due to similarities between COVID-19 and malaria, it would be important for patients to visit health centres whenever they are sick to avoid wrong assumption or self medications.
The ACOMIN Programme Officer called on government make enough PPEs available for health workers since they are the frontline workers during COVID-19 pandemic.
She advised people to adopt COVID-19 protocols which include using of face mask, social distancing and regular washing of hands, avoid crowded places among others.
She also enjoined people to always sleep under LLINs to avoid mosquito bites that causes malaria.
In his remark, the Director, Primary Healthcare system at the Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Micheal Oguntoye noted that the Kwara State Government in its efforts to revamp the health sector especially the primary health care injected funds to ensure the facilities are operating at the optimum level and ensure that basic health care is accessible for every Kwaran.
Dr Oguntoye, who described primary health system as the entry point for the national health system, urged people to make use of primary health centres to maximise their functions and also reduce pressure on the secondary and tertiary health systems in the country.
He said the problem of lack of enough health workers does not peculiar to Kwara state alone because it is a national problem.
He however disclosed that the state government had commenced redistribution of health workers to address the problem of lopsidedness and lack of enough health workers.
Stakeholders at the Media Briefing on Global Fund Malaria Accountability and Advocacy Project, gave the situation reports about the activities relating to malaria intervention and they deliberated on the way forward.
All the 15 EDs of CBOs working on the project, the representative of the traditional ruler from Omupo community and other relevant stakeholders were in attendance at the event.