By VICTORIA OJEME
ABUJA— Immediate past Acting Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr. Emmanuel Abanida, Wednesday, said several primary health care projects amounting to N8.6 billion had been abandoned.
Dr. Abanida added that many state governments were not fully committed to the polio eradication and immunisation programmes.
He attributed the challenges facing the total eradication of the Wild Polio Virus from the country to political sentiments, saying “though political leadership is very high with some governors fully in support, some merely pay lip-service as their support is only on the pages of newspapers.
At the handing over ceremony to his successor, Dr. Ado Muhammad, Abanida said budgetary delays and non-release of fund had militated against completion of the projects over the years.
He said: “We have challenges that are supposed to be technical but they are political. This is an evidence of what we inherited for a long time.
“Since 2001, we have had projects scattered all over the country with various degree of completion to the tune of N8.6 billion.
“Each time we go to the National Assembly during budget defense, we have a huge impress because of this and it becomes difficult. Even if money is available, the money comes late at such a time when it is
impossible to do anything.
“So the money has to be returned to the treasury. And when it is returned, the projects become abandoned.”
On the supports from various parties, he said: “We had challenges at times with collaboration with state governors. In the area of polio eradication, the political leadership at the federal level is very
high and at the global level, we have received almost maximum support. And at the state level, the story sometimes is good and sometimes bad.
“There should be an agreement among the federal government, state governments and local
governments to show what the state governments are supposed to do and what the local governments are supposed to do.”
Speaking on the occasion, the new Executive Director, Dr. Ado Muhammad, promised that his team will rise up to the occasion by building on the past achievements and challenges of the agency.
“We would continue to push for the interruption of the wild polio virus transmission as a national priority, alongside expanding and sustaining the midwifery service scheme,” he stated.
He also sought for the cooperation of the staff, as he promised to take care of their welfare.