Anambra Leads In Health Insurance Scheme In Southeast — ASHIA Boss

…as government undertakes basic health care services for vulnerable persons

Raymond Ozoji, Awka

In line with the mandate of the federal government’s basic health care provision funds programme, the government of Anambra state is currently mapping out the poorest of the poor and vulnerable persons in the 326 political wards of the state for enrollment into the federal government basic health care programme.

The aim of the health care programme is to achieve basic minimum health care packages at the primary health care level where about 40 women of child-bearing age, 25 under five children, 15 elderly individuals of 65 years and above, five persons living with disabilities or sickle cell diseases would be sole beneficiaries of the social health care scheme from each ward.

Dr. Simeon Beluonwu Onyemaechi, the Executive Secretary of the Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA) who made the disclosure to our correspondent in Awka, stated that ASHIA has commenced enrollment of beneficiaries of the health care programme.

Onyemaechi explained that after the enrollment, beneficiaries would be issued identity cards which they will use to access free medical services at primary health care facilities in their communities because ASHIA would pay the capitation for each person to the primary health care centre operating the federal government basic health care provision fund programme.

He also explained that the services that are covered in the scheme are basic primary services and some level of secondary services to include treatment of malaria, typhoid, diarrhoea diseases, chest infections, antenatal, labour, child-delivery, immunisation, treatment of worm infections and a host of others to ensure that people do not die from preventable causes.

He described the basic health care provision fund as the best attempt the country ever had to target people who are poor in the grassroots, stressing that Anambra state is taking the lead in the implementation of the basic health care provision fund because several states have not started.

The ASHIA boss maintained that one of the criteria to benefit from the basic health care programme of the federal government is that enrollees must have the National Identification Number and that the Anambra State Health Insurance Agency is in touch with the National Identity Management Commmission to register beneficiaries of the scheme to enable them to access health care in their respective localities.

According to him, about 6000 persons have been enrolled for the basic health care programme and that by the end of February, it is hoped that the agency would meet the target of 28,000 indigent and vulnerable persons for the health programme, adding that by March 1 this year, they would begin to access free medical services in their various communities.

Onyemaechi however opined that it is to the credit of Governor Willie Obiano whom he said has not left any stone unturned to ensure quality health care delivery since his inception into office.

He also pointed out that some states in Nigeria did not qualify to participate in the federal government basic health care provision fund programme but Anambra did because it has a functional health insurance agency as well as an active primary health care development agency, noting that so long as health insurance scheme is concerned, no state comes close to Anambra in the entire southeast region.

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