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Accessing Primary Health Care: An assessment of Integral Action Plan on Promoting Healthy Living

Healthy Citizenry is one of the greatest assets any country can have and it is arguably the main driver of human development. Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Governor State of Osun in his 6-point Integral Action Plan (IAP) initiated a policy to promote healthy living. This crystalizes the importance of an active population to overall growth and development of the State. At the time of inauguration the IAP (Banish Hunger; Banish Poverty; Banish Unemployment; Promote Healthy Living; Promote Functional Education and Promote Communal Peace and Progress), the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was almost 10 years. The IAP actually compliments MDGs in a number of ways. In particular, MDGS 4, 5, 6 (to reduce child mortality, Improve maternal health and Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and other diseases) fall under the IAP on access to health care services. It is important to point out that disadvantaged groups throughout the world have no access to any permanent form of health care. As acknowledged by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Primary Health Care (PHC) is a practical approach to making essential healthcare universally accessible to individuals and families in the community in acceptable and affordable ways and with their full participation. Ogbeni Aregbesola bonded with this thinking and mustered appropriate political will to roll out adequate counterpart funding to partner the state with the MDGs office for the PHC projects in order to provide access to affordable health services to the rural poor.

Bureau of Social services (BOSS), pursuant to its remit which includes monitoring and evaluating policies, programmes and projects tracked the construction of new Primacy Health Care Centres (PHC), renovation of existing ones, supply of drugs, vaccines and clinical equipment. A baseline was also established to serve as basis for assessing the role of PHC Centres in achieving the IAP on healthy living. More specifically, BOSS assessed the strategy of the Governor to overcome major barriers, such as weak health systems, inadequate number of health care staff, and the challenge of financing care for impoverished people in the State.

The assessment revealed that the PHCs in the state have Geographical Accessibility Mean of 2km from communities and the distance, travel time and means of transportation are acceptable to the people. BOSS evaluated completion of 55 new and renovation of 55 existing PHCs. The assessment parameters also include Cultural, Functional and Financial Accessibility of the PHCs. Cultural Accessibility is where a community takes ownership of the management of the facilities within the cultural pattern of the community. Functional Accessibility means that the right kind of care is available on a continuing basis to those who need it, whenever they need it, and that it is provided by the health team required for its proper delivery while Financial Accessibility means that whatever the rate of payment used, the services can be afforded by the communities. The assessments also revealed that the communities strongly accepted that the PHCs met their need for affordable health care and have contributed to healthy living among the communities.

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