The federal government has through the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) inaugurated the South-West Traditional Rulers Committee on Primary Health Care Delivery at the palace of Ooni of Ife in Ile-Ife, Osun State, on Thursday 2nd September 2021.

The inauguration, held with the traditional leaders from the South-West region in attendance, fashioned out modalities on how to deliver the best of primary health care to the people.

In his opening remarks, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II appreciated the Ministry of Health and the NPHCDA for the good initiative and promised to mobilize all traditional rulers in the South-West including their subjects towards achieving the noble goal.

He said as royal fathers they were connected with the people, hence the decision to partner with them was a welcome development.

He thanked the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, and the Executive Director NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, for showing commitment to the health care of Nigerians and tasked them to do more.

He appealed to the Minister to as a matter of urgency reconcile with the striking doctors to enable them to resume work in the interest of Nigerians.

In his address, Dr. Shuaib appreciated the Ooni of Ife for graciously accepting their invitation to the event.

Taking the audience through memory lane, he said, “In 2009, the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar established a Northern traditional leaders’ committee to support the government effort to eradicate polio and improve the health status of Nigeria and today polio has been eradicated in our country.”

Dr. Shuaib thanked the royal fathers for being supportive of government health programmes over the years and promised to always collaborate with them.

He advised Nigerians to as a matter of urgency get vaccinated as vaccines are available at all vaccination points in Nigeria.

He also called on Nigerians to follow all the COVID-19 protocols after been vaccinated.

On his part, the Minister of Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire stressed the importance of the role of traditional rulers in nation-building and assured them of the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to the health needs of Nigerians.

He said, “I am pleased to say that the traditional rulers have been playing a key role in public health and partnering in our health care system. When the case of COVID-19 came out, the traditional rulers pledged their support for the federal government and fully engaged in mobilization and advocacy to help stem community transmission of the virus. This act has saved many from contacting the virus.”

The Minister further said, “The primary health care centres are going to be a platform to educate, enlighten and build awareness especially among rural communities on the method of disease prevention.”

He then appealed to partners and donors to pull their resources in support of this project.

On their part, County Representative of WHO, Mr. Kazadi Walter Molumbo, UNICEF Country Representative, Peter Hawkins represented by Dr. Mohammed O. Okori, the representative of Rotary International Mr. Gbenga Olayuwale, promised to always support the Nigerian government on health issues.

The event was wrapped up with the official inauguration of the South-West Traditional Rulers Committee on Health Care Delivery by the Minister of Health, after which plaques were presented to the Minister, the Executive Director NPHCDA and others.