By Tukura Matthew
The establishment of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) by the Federal Government is based on the desire to provide effective and efficient health care services to Nigerians. The agency provides the most basic health care services to majority of Nigerians.
The agency is more of social service provider and not a profit-making organization, aimed at achieving improved and quick response to health emergencies.
And to this effect, the Federal Government directed all states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja to establish its own agency that would facilitate a functional health service delivery system in the country.
The agency has had at different times had executive directors as leaders that led it in achieving its mandate.
Dr. Faisal Shuaib is the current Executive Director heading the Agency for a second term of four years in office.
Dr. Shuaib has a track record of achievements in primary health care and disease control in the country.
It is under his leadership that the country attained up to seventy percent (70%) immunization coverage (SMART SURVEY 2020) from the level of (33%) percent.
His support to States for better health for Nigerians including routine immunization, supply of motor circles and laptops to the seven hundred and seventy-four (774) Local Government Area Councils to access hard-to-reach areas and better data capturing is worth commending.
Under Dr. Shuaib’s leadership, Nigeria was finally certified “A Polio free country”, a battle that has been on to free Nigeria from the disease since the year 2000.
The Executive Director’s media campaigns and presentations on the fight against Covid-19, the elimination of cervical cancer and strengthening of collaboration with development partners are laudable.
The reappointment of Dr. Shuaib by President Muhammadu Buhari was applauded by Nigerians, prominent among them is the Emir of Lafia and Chairman Nasarawa State Council of Chiefs, Justice Sidi Muhammad Bage who recently visited the headquarters of the NPHCDA in Abuja and congratulated Dr. Shuaib.
The monarch said the State was elated when the news of the reappointment of Dr. Shuaib filtered into the state and that the traditional council in the State will soon visit President Muhammadu Buhari and thank him for the reappointment of Dr. Shuaib.
He called on the management and staff of the NPHCDA to further support the Executive Director as he alone cannot do the work of the agency, adding that the ED has done the state proud.
He assured the ED that the people of Nasarawa State will continue praying for him to do even more than he did during his first tenure in office.
In a remark, the Executive Secretary, Nasarawa State Primary Healthcare Development Board and Chairman, Forum of Executive Secretaries of States Primary Healthcare Development Boards, Dr. Adis Muhammad said the delegation was in Abuja to felicitate with him on his reappointment, noting that the extension of the ED’s tenure did not come to the people of the state as a surprise given the successes recorded by his administration.
He said by winning the fight against polio, Dr. Shuaib has not only made Nasarawa State and Nigeria proud but the entire black race.
Dr. Adis said the ED should rest assured that all the people of Nasarawa State are solidly behind him in his quest to transform the Primary Healthcare space in Nigeria.
Also, extoling the virtues of the ED, the Chairman, NPHCDA Governing Board, Alhaji Attahiru Salihu Aliero (Dallatun Gwandu) said he is delighted to work with Dr. Shuaib who is hardworking and listens to advice.
In response the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Shuaib said he is spurred by the visit of the Royal Father to do more towards the realization of the mandate of the agency.
He said he is truly overwhelmed with emotions, deep sense of humility and gratitude to have the highest honour bestowed on him by the visit of the monarch in recognition of the work the agency is doing for the children and people of Nigeria.
The Executive Director said the monarch is the first traditional ruler that has led the Traditional Council in the State to his office to congratulate him on his reappointment.
In his wordsL “The visit is the first of its kind; in one’s life there are very important points of reflection, fond memories, and this is perhaps the highest honour.”
He said the presence of the monarch will further enhance the bond between traditional institutions and the agency, given the long and fruitful collaboration that existed during the fight against the Wild Polio Virus in the country through the establishment of the Northern Traditional rulers Committee on polio eradication.
He stressed that the visit “is not only a testimony to your humble character and your love for the people of Nasarawa State, but a clear appreciation of President’s Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts, and all stakeholders including every staff of NPHCDA”.
The Executive Director has indeed not just made Nasarawa, his home state, proud but the entire country. It is hoped that his second term will yield even better results especially in the current fight against COVID-19.