A NGO, Results for Development (R4D), has appealed to Kaduna State Government to sustain the new Health Insurance Scheme towards boosting health care delivery to residents.
The R4D country Director, Dr Uweju Hope, made the appeal during a presentation at the end of project dissemination event in Kaduna on Thursday.
Hope said the success of the health sector system reform largely depended on the “buy in and ownership of the stakeholders involved.”
He said the COVID-19 pandemic had intensified demand for stronger health systems.
“If there is a time to ensure that all components of health systems complement rather than conflict with one another, that time is now.”
The country director underscored the growing need for financial access to primary health care services in the state.
He said that remained a significant challenge in the country, with out-of- pocket expenditure contributing over 70 per cent of health care spending.
“In Kaduna State, these financial access barriers contribute to the underutilisation of PHC services. A third of Kaduna state residents do not have access to essential health services.
“To overcome this barrier, the state has committed to establish contributory health scheme as part of their broader universal health coverage agenda. The demand side financing project is the main technical partner in the initiative,” he said.
According to him, the partnership is to improve access to and utilisation of quality PHC services through the reduction of out of pocket payments especially for pregnant women, children and the poor.
Hope noted that the R4D Institute and Health systems consult limited aimed to achieve was to establish a contributory health scheme, ensure that the scheme design support, reduce out of pocket expenditure, build capacity of government.
In her remark, the state Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, said that Kaduna State had sustainably maintained increased funding for the education and health sectors and has designed policies to ensure equitable access to health care for all residents of the State.
Balarabe, who was represented by the Special Adviser on Human Capital, Alhaji Sagir Balarabe, said the insurance scheme ‘’is being managed by the Kaduna State Contributory Health Management Authority (KADCHMA).’’
According to her, the government created the Contributory Health Insurance Scheme ‘’to demonstrate our resolve in removing financial inhibition to accessing health care for all our people.’’
She said she had ‘’flagged off the identification and enrolment exercise for the commencement of Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) Programme in the State recently.
‘’This further shows the progress made in keeping our commitment towards increasing access to Basic Minimum Health Care Services for all residents towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).’’
Balarabe said that BHCPF had further expanded the gateway for 40,000 vulnerable persons who are within the target groups, especially children under the age of five, pregnant women, the elderly and people living with disabilities, to access healthcare.
‘’These recorded achievements demonstrate the gains of the Result for Development–Demand Side Financing Programme implemented in Kaduna State,’’ she said.
‘’We are committed to maintain this positive trajectory as a government that put our people first in our governance agenda.’’
Director-General of KADCHMA, Aliyu Saidu appreciated the state government for the provision of qualitative, accessible and affordable health care to all residents.
He said KADCHMA had enrolled a total of 404,399 persons, with 391,254 beneficiaries from the formal sector, 681 from the informal sector and 12,454 persons from the vulnerable.
Saidu added that the authority would focus on optimizing the enrolment of persons from the informal sector.
He solicited for support from development partners, particularly the Bill and Melinda gates and R4D, related federal and state MDAs, policy makers and community gatekeepers to ensure that residents accessed health services based on need and not ability to pay. (NAN)