APC, Zamfara
Bello Matawalle


One of the online media in Nigeria carried a report on Friday from non-governmental organisations (precisely The One, National Advocates for Health, Nigeria Health Watch and Public and Private Development Centre) on poor accessibility to Primary Health Care in Nigeria; a report which mentioned 18 states with Abuja on the top and Zamfara State having the worst indices.

What is worrisome in that media report is that it jumbled-up the two indices around which are provision of the facility and accessibility to that facility and ended up giving the impression that authorities have failed in the provision of adequate health care provision to the rural areas in the state.

Indeed, Governmental and non-governmental organisations in any country are a viable instrument of checking a drift in any sector of human socio-economic and political lives of the people. In fact, reports from non-governmental organisations, and of course, donor agencies elsewhere are a reference material for any serious government to consider in moulding its policies and even their implementation.

However, in Nigeria, just like our every aspect of national lives, reports of many NGOs are infested with fraud, indolence, selfish and primordial considerations. Objectivity, which ought to be the key word, is often absent in the process that culminates in many slanted reports from such NGOs.

I also mention indolence here because most of these NGOs rely on second hand data to piece in their supposedly “thorough reports”. Their major aim is to give the semblance of a good work to earn the attention and satisfaction of their sponsors.

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The truism in my position here is backed by my innate belief that, if indeed, an NGO would work thoroughly in Zamfara State, in spite of any assumption of independence in its research, the state government must be aware of such team in the state.

Yes, the State Government (or its relevant agencies) is made aware before conducting such research in the rural areas, if not for anything, but for their own safety due to security challenges everyone is aware the state is battling with. But all the state government will hear is a bogus report from organisations that have not seen even a handful of villages in any part of Zamfara State.

Nonetheless, the NGOs that came up with this report should have reflected the fact that high rate of accessibility to primary health care is determined by two major factors. One is the provision of the facility needed and second, the availability of the paraphernalia required to access the facilities.

His Excellency, Governor Bello Mohammed has done more than any state government has done in terms of provision of primary health care in the state and finding accessible means to reach these facilities. In his three years in office, among other things, he has built 147 Primary Healthcare Hospitals, one in each polling unit of the 14 Local Government Areas in the state, fully equipped with one tricycle ambulance each; he has built eight maternal care hospitals for women, and a standard General Hospital at Kagara. He has provided all the 17 General Hospitals in the state with fully equipped ambulances and has built an infectious disease control centre at Damba. I don’t know if any contemporary state has done more than this feat to deserve Zamfara State ranking at the lowest ebb.

Granted that one of the major obstacles to accessing such facilities might be the security challenges facing the state, but cannot in anyway be as bad as sliding the rating of the state to the button. We are aware that everyone, especially such pampered NGO officials, find it difficult to visit even the state capital of Gusau, much less the interior, but could have saved a little integrity if they have sourced their second hand information from more reliable quarters than to roll out the kind of bunkum as they did.

*Bappa is the Special Adviser to Zamfara State Governor on Media.

The Star




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