The World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Nigeria Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo has charged the newly appointed State Commissioners of Health to as matter of urgency, place first, reformation of primary health care on their agenda and ensure priority investment in its development.

Dr. Mulombo gave this charge at the Induction Ceremony of the Newly Appointed State Commissioners with the theme “Navigating Health Leadership: From Promise to Impact” held today in Abuja.

According to him, enormous responsibilities has been placed on their shoulders towards achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and health security in Nigeria.

“And considering the political economy of the country, your position is unique in steering your states towards the right direction in line with federal government policies and agenda despite the prevailing challenges based on your state specific contexts.

He added that the health situation in Nigeria requires uncommon approaches to make a remarkable difference. With the ongoing increase in the burden of non-communicable diseases on the background of high burden of communicable diseases, multiple outbreaks, and the highest out-of-pocket expenditure on health in the region, more Nigerians are falling into poverty due to ill health while many do not have access to the quality essential health services they need.

“Rising from the international conference to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Alma-Ata and 5th anniversary of Astana declarations on primary health care in Astana Kazakhstan, last week, countries have recommitted themselves to making a radical shift towards Primary Healthcare as the foundation of UHC and health security. This indeed entails shifting focus from mere concepts to actions with demonstrable results, for greater resilience in the health sector, even in the face of emergencies.

“. As leaders of the health sector very close to the people, it is demanded of you now more than ever, to keep PHC high on the agenda of your governments and ensure priority investment in its development.

He also stressed the need for a common vision, proactive collaboration, clear accountability mechanisms in addition to collective dedication, and commitment among different strata of government to help achieve better results in the health sector.

“The WHO in line with our Country Coordination Strategy (CCS), is committed to working with you at the Federal level as well as state level through our field offices, to ensure the translation of health policies in this direction into actions.