ASHIA to collaborate with Pharmacists on improved health

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By Felix Oti, Awka

The Managing Director of Anambra State Health Insurance Agency, ASHIA, Dr Simeon Onyemaechi, has called for collaboration while urging the Agency and Community Pharmacists to play integral role in ensuring improved health condition of the people through health insurance scheme.

Onyemaechi who spoke on the theme: “From crisis to preparedness: Future of community pharmacy practice in Anambra state,” during the 33rd annual conference of the Association of community pharmacists of Nigeria, Anambra state chapter.

In his keynote speech, Dr Onyemaechi described Universal Health Coverage as a dream, journey and destination that requires involvement of major stakeholders in the health sector.

He added that the health coverage, which ASHIA is helping to achieve in Anambra, is such that when everybody everywhere will have access to healthcare services that are of sufficient quality to be effective without suffering financial hardship.

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On the role of community pharmacists in the administration of ASHIA, Dr. Onyemaechi said there are members engaged to provide ASHIA facilities with quality-assured medicines for enrollees, adding that to ensure that out-of-stock syndrome doesn’t hamper ASHIA operations, the agency has linkages with some community pharmacists across the state where ASHIA enrollees can visit and get medications if the drugs are not in any of its facilities.

He said community pharmacists can collaborate with ASHIA for more impact through community outreach health programmes, as well as using their reach and services to get more people enrolled in the scheme by referring those having challenges in purchasing prescribed medications.

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He said that Governor Chukwuma Soludo, instead of upward review of money for enrollment, has instead increased subsidy for the scheme to ensure that the programme continues.

In his remark, the Anambra State Chairman of ACPN, Pharmacist Henry Iloh, said the event provided opportunity to critique ASHIA operations in the state and chart a way forward, especially how to get pharmacists’ input in the overall well-being of patients, ASHIA enrollees, citizens and residents of the state.

Earlier, the Chairman of the event, Pharmacist Ikem Odumodu, said that low budgetary allocation, limited knowledge at sub national level, high out-of-pocket expenditure, are challenges to health insurance policy, and called for strategic collaboration to address them.

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Some participants at the event, include: a one-time chairman of the association in the state, Pharmacist Uche Akpakama, Secretary, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Anambra State chapter, Pharmacist Onyeka Obidiegwu, and a Fellow, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Pharmacist Ifeanyi Okeke, said integrating community pharmacists in providing services to ASHIA enrollees will boost operations of the agency.

The National Chairman of the association, Pharmacist Adewale Oladigbolu was represented at the event by the National Financial Secretary of ACPN, Pharmacist Obiageli Ukwu.

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