USAID learning agenda: Participants decry political interference in health officers' training, posting


By Oswald Agwu

Participants in USAID- Integrated Health Programme's  second quarter Learning Agenda Session in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital, have identified high level of political interference in healthcare workers training and posting as a  major mpediment to capacity building in health systems in the country.

The Stakeholders also observed that poor documentation and inventory ocassioned by the use of unqualified health officers in maning focus facilities as well as  inadequate Primary health workers have impacted negatively in health facility support by foreign donors.

They further urged government at all levels in the Nigera to look inwards more in fashioning ways of addressing problems in the sector rather than depending mainly on foreign donors and partners.

The stakeholders observed that alterations and changes in Policy Thrusts of donor countries and partners would always  affect Health Programmes in the Country, adding that some donors do not often factor relevance to local contexts in their programming.

Commending IHP for their proactive approach to improving health systems in the State, they called for government's political will in addressing the anomalies for a more rewarding donor support.

In their saperate presentations, the IHP State  Technical Director, Dr. Oladipo Atimade and the Knowledge Management Officer, Uchenna Anoke, highlighted the objectives of IHP to include integrative collaboration with key players, logistics support and capacity building to improve health systems.

They noted that IHP also work with other USAID sponsored programmes such as the Breakthrough Action-Nigeria to increase demand for Health facilities.

Anoke maintained that IHP works to ensure that development in health facilities and systems were country-led and community-owned rather than donor-driven while ensuring that data and evidence alone, rather than speculations inform their health programming.

He further noted that part of their mandate was to increase opportunities for greater impact through improved coordination among donors and implementers of health programmes, stressing that the Programme targets to achieve a highly functional health system in the State by 2025.

According to Anoke, IHP also works to bring all partners together  for coordinated partner implementation, striving to make a difference in health systems through the concept of CLA: Collaborating, Learning and Adapting.

He emphasized that the IHP's strategy involves openness to hearing alternative perspectives, willingness to take action on new ideas, relationships and networking, Management Learning, knowledge sharing with stakeholders and proper documentation. 

While expressing optimism that the anomalies presently bedeviling the primary healthcare sector in the State, including prolonged non employment of health workers by the government would soon expire, he assured that high level engagements have been initiated by the IHP to address them all.

The Acting Executive Secretary of the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Mrs Ogonna Odii Okoro, in her remarks, expressed confidence that the approach of the USAID-IHP towards improving health systems would produce long term laudable results.

He admonished health workers not to be detered by the current challenges they meet in their places of work and appealed to the State Government to recruit health and allied workers for the Primary Health Centres across the State to boost their operation.

The meeting organised by USAID-IHP office in the State in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health, State Primary Health care Development Agency had in attendance Health officers in charge of IHP focus facilities in Abakaliki, Ebonyi, Izzi, Ohaukwu, among other local government areas in the State.

There were also representatives of the Ministries of Health and Women Affairs, State Health Insurance Agency, and selected partner NGOs/ Civil Society Organisations.

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