FACT CHECK: How many Primary Health Centres (PHC) Does Nigeria have?

Claim:  Renewed hope: FG to increase PHCs from 8,300 to 17,600 – Vanguard Newspaper, 23 January 2024.

Verdict: False

Full Text: 

On January 23, 2024, Vanguard Newspaper published a news report that claimed the executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Muyi Aina who represented the coordinating minister of health, Professor Ali Pate at a 2-day meeting of the North East Forum of Honourable Commissioners of Health.

 Vanguard reported the news event with the headline:“ Renewed hope: FG to increase PHCs from 8,300 to 17,600” and a quick scan through the news report shows that the newspaper did not directly quote the representative of the Minister of health than just using the phrase in the headline and the lead of the report, there is no other sentence of the report to buttress the claim.

The only quote that represented the voice of the coordinating minister of health was; “The Nigerian Health Sector Renewal Investment Programme, which encapsulates our strategic vision for the sector,” emphasizing how the ministry of health save lives of Nigerians and produce sterling healthcare.


Twentyten Daily made a quick search on “The Nigerian Health sector Renewal Investment Programme” and it leads to a press release with the headline: “President Tinubu Unveils Plan for Massive Investments in Health Sector, Says Healthcare Back on Front Burner” from the state house on 12 December 2023 as a part of the celebration of Universal Health Coverage.

The press release went on to list several key policy actions of the Tinubu led administration in the health sector. One of the key policies explained by the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate was to “double the number of fully functional Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) from 8,809 to 17,618 by 2027 across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), adding that these PHCs will be linked to a comprehensive emergency care system.”

A check with the Nigeria Health Facility Registry showed that Nigeria has a total of 35,514 Primary Health Centres (PHCs) of which Public PHCs is, 28947 covering a total of 81.51% while private PHCs is 6567.

Filtering deeper with the health facility registry using the operational filter, a total of 27301 public PHCs are operational in Nigeria, and we have 5622 operational private PHCs.

With the word functional being emphasized in the word of the minister, a quick dictionary meaning of functional would surely assist:

  1. of or having a special activity, purpose, or task. (Oxford Dictionary)
  2. designed to be practical and useful, rather than attractive.(Cambridge Dictionary)

Taking every part of the definition of functional into consideration, Twentyten Daily filter down using the Licensed and Registered filter box while combining them with operational.

Registered and operational public PHCS narrow the number to 16557 cutting off a 39.35% from the operational PHCs, and it was even reduced when the licensed filter was added. The number of primary health centres under the Licensed, Registered and Operational became 15317 making a total of 56.1% of Operational PHCs under this filter.


While the Vanguard News report does not properly quote the coordinating minister of health, Twentyten Daily Research found that Prof Ali Pate Indeed include doubling the number of Primary Health centres in Nigeria from 8,809 to 17,618 by 2027. However, the check on the register of all health facility in Nigeria proved that the country has more than 15317 public PHCs that are licensed, registered and operational as at January 2024

Ibraheem Alawode

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