From Victor Seyi, Ilorin
The Kwara State government has said that about 105,000 low-income people have been enrolled on its community health insurance programme since inception in 2007.
Speaking at the state health insurance research and advocacy conference for stakeholders of the programme in Ilorin on Tuesday, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed said that over 600,000 clinical patients’ visits had been made since the start of the programme.
Governor Ahmed, who said that an MOU was signed in February 2013 to implement community health insurance scheme as part of the future plans for the programme, added that the aim was to cover 1,000,000 people in the rural poor segment.
The governor also said that the ambition of his administration was to extend the scheme to every rural dweller in the state, and ultimately enrol all civil servants in the state.
Ahmed, who lauded the country’s adoption of universal health coverage (UHC) which aimed to provide quality and affordable health care to majority of the people, especially, at the grassroots, said the objective could only be attained with adequate funding of health care delivery services.
His words: “However, in view of the limited capacity of low income villagers to access quality healthcare, it is pertinent to broaden access through subsidised community health insurance.
“For socio-economic development and political stability of any nation, qualitative health care for the citizenry is a sine qua non. That the nation has adopted universal health coverage is not only desirable but is a clarion call on government to provide quality health care for the people. However, the attainment of universal health care can only be ensured through effective and efficient health insurance.”
To ensure sustainability of the health insurance programme, Governor Ahmed also said that a law known as Community Health Insurance Law, had been enacted in October 2012 to prioritise provision of healthcare to low income groups through community health insurance.
“Meanwhile, the state government has upgraded not less than 50 primary health care facilities in addition to carrying out comprehensive rehabilitation and remodelling of five general hospitals in Kwara State with state-of-the-art equipment,” he said.