By Philip Yatai
Zaria (Kaduna State), Jan. 20, 2021 The Kaduna State Government says it will implement Community Health Influencers, Promoters and Services (CHIPS) programme in 617 hard-to-reach communities that are five or more kilometers away from health facilities.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Amina Baloni, made the disclosure on Wednesday in Zari at the opening of a two-week Training of Trainers (TOT) for the CHIPS programme, funded by UNICEF, Kaduna Field Office.
Baloni was represented at the event by Dr Neyu Iliyasu, Director, Family and Community Health Services, Kaduna State Primary Health Care Development Board.
She explained that CHIPS was a national programme targeted at creating demand for health services, and a strategy geared towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.
“The CHIPS programme is a `community-based initiative’ designed to consolidate and harmonise all community level healthcare interventions and services.
“I hope that at the end of the training, we will have a strong team that will build the capacity of our community volunteers to support in widening coverage of essential health services,” she said.
On his part, the Director, Family and Community Health Services, explained that the decision to focus on hard-to-reach areas was informed by the state’s 2020 Integrated Primary Health Care (PHC) Reach Every Ward Micro Plan.
He said that based on the plan, over 65 per cent of the state’s population live within two kilometre radius from a PHC facility and were being reached through fixed sessions in PCHs.
Iliyasu added that 27 per cent of the population who live within two to five km radius to a health facility, were being reached through outreaches.
He, however, said that the seven per cent of the population living beyond five km radius in 617 hard-to-reach communities in 87 wards, would be reached through the CHIPS programme.
Prof. Clara Ejembi, National Principal Consultant of the CHIPS programme, explained that the CHIPS agents were members and residents of the communities.
Ejembi said that the agents would be nominated, assessed, selected, recruited, trained, kitted, deployed and supervised to provide basic health services to households and refer them for appropriate services at PHCs.
“The goal is to contribute to the reduction of maternal and child morbidity by creating demand and improving access to essential primary healthcare services,” she said.
The Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Kaduna, Dr Zakari Adam, reiterated UNICEF’s commitment and support to the well-being of children and women in the state.
Adam, who was represented by Dr Idris Baba, UNICEF Health Specialist, said that supporting the programme would go a long way in ensuring universal health coverage in the state.
Dr Faisal Shuaibu, Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), commended the government for the decision to implement the CHIPS programme to strengthen PHC services at community level.
Shuaibu, who was represented by Mrs Maryam Nasir, NPHCDA Coordinator in the state, said that the programme would significantly reduce maternal mortality and infant morbidity in the country.