Akwa Ibom State health insurance scheme is set to take off following a five-day training for staff members organised by the National Health Insurance Authority.
The health insurance scheme is expected to provide Basic Minimum Package (BMP) of healthcare services at the Primary Healthcare Centres as well as referral to secondary healthcare facilities.
Expected to draw funding from the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, the state government is to make a counterpart funding of 25 percent while the federal government will support the scheme with 75 percent of the fund.
The Commissioner for Health, Augustine Vincent Umoh gave the indication of the commencement of the scheme while declaring open the training in Uyo, the state capital.
Umoh , who pledged the readiness of the state government towards its success, said it would greatly improve access to healthcare services in the state as the challenge of finances would be reduced. He described the future of health insurance in the state as bright.
He urged the beneficiaries of the training to make the best use so the state could leverage their knowledge and skills acquired and from many other trainings that would be held.
Speaking with BusinessDay, an official of the National Health Insurance Authority, Agboola Olasunkanmi said the training followed a request by the Akwa Ibom State Insurance agency as a result of the gaps identified during a study tour of the state insurance agency.
“Akwa Ibom State is in a better position to get the programme right. The scheme is facility-based and the National Identification Number (NIN) will be the criterion for enrolment,” he said.
According to him, the next step after the training will be the accreditation of health facilities that will participate in the scheme which he said would be followed by enrolment of the beneficiaries.
Speaking also, the Executive Secretary, Akwa Ibom State Health Insurance Agency, Igbemi Arthur Igbemi said the training was an indication of the strong collaboration between the state insurance agency and NHIA which he said was to ensure the success of the scheme in the state
He commended the state government for the programmes being implemented to ensure universal health coverage in the state.
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Earlier, the state coordinator of NHIA, Williams Ebiokobo said though health insurance was relatively new in the country with the revised guidelines recently unveiled in the country, it was important to put all hands on deck for its success.
“The concept of health insurance is relatively new but we have a few experts here and there , there is nothing wrong in having to draw from their own expertise,” he said.
The state government signed the health insurance bill into law in December, 2021.