FROM = Everest Ezihe, Owerri
As part of his administration’s efforts in alleviating the sufferings of the physically challenged and vulnerable persons in Imo State, Governor Hope Uzodimma has flagged-off their enrollment into the federal government’s Basic Healthcare Provision Fund Scheme.
While performing the ceremony at Owerri Municipal Council Secretariat the Governor informed that the scheme will offer arefreshing insurance that will allow the poor people, especially the lessprivileged, to have access to quality healthcare delivery irrespective of their status
in the society.
He pointed out that effecting the enrollment of vulnerable persons in the Health Insurance Schemeis a laudable health innovation that centres on comprehensive healthcare of the special citizens who are physically challenged.
Governor Uzodimma further said that the ideais yet “another visible signpost in his administration’s resolve for the provision of efficient and affordable health care services to Imo People which heralds a brand new chapter in the provision of health care delivery in Nigeria.”
He applauded the federal Government for collaborating with the State Governments to initiate the noble mission, noting that “the Federal Government through the National healthcare Act 2014 established the basic health provision fund to carter for the enrollment of the vulnerable persons covering children under five years of age,pregnant women, disabled and the poorest of the poor in the society.”
The Governor also said that “the beneficiaries of the Scheme are mostly those in the rural areas from the basic healthcare fund which will be accessible through the 305 healthcare centres in all the 305 INEC wards in the State. These centres will serve as a platform through which the vulnerable groups can have access to free healthcare services under the fund. Only those that have been enrolled in the scheme will have access to the fund” he emphatically stated.
He assured the people that thefund for the healthcare scheme is already in place courtesy of the FederalGovernment provision and the Counterpart fund provided by the State Government.
Governor Uzodimma expressed hispassion for the health of helpless in the society, noting that it is the responsibility of all to encourage them to enroll in the scheme.
He however urged those mostly affected to come out en mass to enroll in the scheme, saying“this is one of the opportunities, the people should not toil with.” He stressed that, “it is a free, quality health services
The Governor also warned unscrupulous persons in the society who will want to tamper with the funds to have a re-think and emphasized that “those found indulging in such act will be made to face the full weight of the law. Such people shall be deemed guilty of profiting from blood money and have deprived the vulnerable access to good health by stealing from their funds.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Bartholomew Okorochukwu explained that the basic healthcare provision fund was set up by the Federal Government to provide accessible and affordable healthcare services to all Nigerians especially the poor and vulnerable and that it is aimed at protecting these groups of Nigerians from the adverse effect of financial shocks arising from very high out of pocket expenditure for health care services.
The Commissioner further informed that the State Health Insurance Agency in collaboration with the State primary health Care Development Agency and the National Health Insurance Scheme was flagging-off the first phase of the State wide programme for eligible persons which include: pregnant women, children under five years, the elderly and people living with disabilities.
He however pointed out that this first phase will not capture every eligible person at inception while passionately appealing to wealthy and kind-hearted persons in the State to take up the responsibilities in supporting the initiative by enrolling their indigent community members into the Scheme to complement the efforts of government at all levels.
In a goodwill message read on behalf of the Executive Secretary, National Insurance Health Scheme, Alhaji Sambo Mohammed by Dr. Uchenna Ewelike he said that the National Health Insurance Scheme is poised to reposition the health Insurance Sector in Nigeria through the implementation of the basic healthcare provision fund programme aimed at scaling up access to quality healthcare for all Nigerians, especially the vulnerable groups.
Adding his voice, the executive Secretary Imo State Health Insurance Agency, Dr. John Onyeokoro said that the basic healthcare provision fund was established in 2014 and seeks to remove financial barriers to accessing primary health care, particularly the poor and vulnerable as well as increase the overall financing to the health sector to assist Nigeria achieve universal health problem.