The need for Universal Health Coverage cannot be over emphasized. Following the latest hit on the health system by COVID-19 there is need to strengthen the health system and increase access of the population to quality Health Care services. Nigeria’s closest shot at achieving universal Health Coverage is through the Basic Health Care Provision Fund and state Health insurance Scheme which is targeted at building the system and improving Access to health Care.
Cross River State signed into law the Ayade Care (State Health Insurance Scheme) in 2016, however, the implementation of the scheme is yet to begin in the state. As part of the final process to begin the implementation of the Ayade Care, the Cross River State Government has flagged off the training exercise for enumurators, who will go into the field for health facilities baseline assessment, as the state accesses the Basic Health Care Provision Funds, aimed at capturing and enrolling 700,000 vulnerable people across the 18 Local Government Areas of the State, who will access free quality health care services in the state.
Flagging off the training exercise in Calabar the Cross River State Capital, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu has assured Cross Riverians that the would have improved health services which will be free for the vulnerable groups under Governor Ayade’s administration. She said the full implementation of the long awaited Health insurance scheme is finally here!!!
Dr Edu who said among other benefits, the scheme will help cushion the hardship faced by households when accessing Healthcare services.
She further charged enumerators to be guided and perform task with all sense of commitment as proper information generated will protect Cross Riverians irrespective of their social and political class from ineffective healthcare supply.
Speaking earlier, the Director General of the Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Janet Ekpenyong applauded the facilitators of the exercise, as she encouraged the participants to tap from their wealth of experience and technicalities to ensure that Cross River State achieve maximum results in its quest to achieving Universal Health Coverage Status.
Dr Ekpenyong further applauded the state Governor, Senator Ben Ayade for his huge investments in the health sector which she said has helped in reducing maternal and infant mortality and strengthening the believe system among Community members to seek supports for their health challenges in Government owned facilities.
On his part, the Director General of the Cross River State Health Insurance Scheme, Chief Goddy Iyala said his Agency is poised to support all Agencies of Government to ensure that success is achieved.
He further called on transparency in obtaining data from relevant bodies which will aid planning and implementation as he said the Cross River State Health Insurance is one of the pioneer Agencies in the country to get legislation and as such a reliable gateway to obtaining results.
Facilitators from the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency as well as the National Health Insurance Scheme applauded the State Government for prioritizing healthcare for it’s citizens as well as setting the template for other states to follow.
Participants which include Monitoring and Evaluation Officers were drawn from the state Ministry of Health, the State Primary Healthcare Agency and the State Health Insurance Scheme are expected to be taught various methods of Facility rating using the Open Data Kit (ODK) to ascertain the quality of services being offered in each facility both in terms of client’s convenience, numbers of staff as well as a step down training for ward and Community leaders.
The BHCPF is aimed at providing succor to the Vulnerable including the Aged, Pregnant Women and children under the age of 5, poor Households and low income earners with the sole target of all states contributing to Nigeria attaining the universal Health Coverage Status.
With the Government of Senator Ben Ayade meeting all the criteria for accessing the said funds, through the payment of counterpart funds and building standard health Facilities, the training of enumerators and capacity building could just be the icing on the cake for the state to join other states in benefiting from the reserved funds which will not only help remodel some of our health Facilities but as well help in drugs stocking and the hiring of health workers to meet the growing population.