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Jigawa: Options Works to Improve Private Sector Participation in Health

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Isiyaku Ahmed

Jigawa State has three ties of health institutions. The tertiary is under the jurisdiction of the federal government. The secondary is under the supervision of the state government while the primary health care is under the jurisdiction of the local government.

It has fewer private health institutions and facilities, so far, there is the absence of a law that manages the activities of the existing private health institutions in the state.

The absence of the management agency galvanized the State Ministry of Health to consider drafting the private health institutions management agency (PHIMA) Bill with support from Options Consultancy Services Limited through the Women’s Integrated Sexual Health (WISH) program funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, a department of the Government of the United Kingdom.

WISH has been providing technical support to the Jigawa health system for the last 4 years, towards universal access to quality Family Planning (FP)/Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Services.

Recently, to improve private sector participation in the delivery of quality health services, the Government of Jigawa state with technical support from WISH were in Kano for a 3-day meeting to develop a Bill that will establish the Jigawa Private Health Institution Management Agency.

Dr. Michael Olawuyi is the WISH Sustainability Lead in Nigeria. Speaking at the event he stressed the importance of the bill in stimulating private sector participation.

He enthused “the private sector especially the informal private sector (PPMVs), play an important role in the delivery of quality health services including FP/SRH, hence there is no better time for a bill like this to be drafted.”

In the draft bill, some of PHIMA’s functions include but are not limited to formulating policies on the registration and certification of Private Health Institutions in the state subject to the approval of the Commissioner.

The agency will lead the implementation of policies on the registration and certification of Private Health Institutions.

It also has the responsibility to promote private investment and facilitate the setting up of a Public-Private Partnership on health in the state in collaboration with other relevant ministries, departments, and agencies.

Dr. A U Namadi is the Director of Public Health, Jigawa State Ministry of Health.

He said the PHIMA bill is important because it will establish laws that will guide the operations of private health organizations in the state.

“It will facilitate the establishment of private health institutions and ensure quality service provision in the state through coordination, and motivation to provide standard services and prevent quackery.

“This can be achieved by encouraging the establishment of institutions by incentivizing the process, supportive monitoring, and supervision as well as providing enabling environment to thrive.”

A section of the bill makes it compulsory for professionals in-charge of any private health institution in the state to register with the PHIMA.

Another section says: “No person or company shall set up or conduct a Private Health Institutions unless such Institution has been duly registered by the Agency under the provisions of this Bill.”

Baffa Nayaya is the Co-Chair of a civil society coalition – Jigawa Maternal Accountability Forum (JiMAF).

He said Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in collaboration with other stakeholders will advocate for the passage and assent of the PHIMA law.

“We will facilitate the establishment of the agency and ensure quality service provision by all private health institutions practicing in the state.

“We will support the agency in mobilizing other relevant stakeholders who are not captured in the Bill.

“CSOs will also monitor to ensure the bill is all-inclusive and the revenue to be generated is judiciously utilized.

PHIMA also has punishment for those who contravene the law.

Nayaya said another important role CSOs will play is to monitor and follow up through advocacy the debate on the formulation and enforcement of the law.

The Traditional Leaders Committee Focal Person, Aminu Dan Malam said traditional leaders will serve as watchdogs.

According to Dan Malam, traditional leaders will share information for planning purposes to facilitate the collection of fees through mobilizing health institutions under their jurisdiction for the agency.

The draft PHIMA Bill will be introduced to the Jigawa State House of Assembly (JSHoA) as Executive Bill or a Private bill.

It will have to pass through the usual three readings before it is passed into law. Each reading is done on a separate day.

If it is passed by the JSHoA, it will be transmitted to the State Governor for assent, making a law.

However, the urgency of the Bill may prompt the JSHoA to undertake the three readings in one day and pass the PHIMA Bill into law.

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