Akwa Ibom has concluded plans to roll out a health insurance scheme to ensure that residents “have access to efficient and effective medical services and reduce catastrophic health expenditure.”
The scheme also aims to “achieve universal health coverage by providing financial access to qualitative, affordable, equitable and sustainable health care services.”
Igbemi Arthur Igbemi, a medical doctor and executive secretary of Akwa Ibom State health insurance agency, who made this known during an interaction with journalists in Uyo, the state capital, said the campaign started with strategic engagement meetings with the medical elders and the state branch of the Nigerian Medical Association, adding that the two groups have pledged their support towards the success of the scheme.
Igbemi said that the accreditation of HealthCare Facilities (HCF) would commence immediately as well as the enrollment of the beneficiaries to begin with the vulnerable group using the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).
“This will start within one month from now once we are done with the setting up of the Information and Communication Technology unit and other health insurance packages will be added after the workshop to produce the final copy of the operational guidelines.
“The draft copy of the guideline is being looked at in stages, and all the stakeholders will be given a chance to make input,” he said.
Igbemi, who lauded the state Governor, Umo Eno for his support and determination to see to the success of the scheme, said that when fully operational, it would provide affordable healthcare to many residents of the state.
According to him, since the enactment of the Law, and the appointment of a substantive Executive Secretary, the Agency had commenced mobilisation of staff from other ministries through the office of the Head of Service and Permanent Secretaries of the various ministries.
“Staff members have been deployed to head the key departments. A temporary accommodation has been secured for the Agency at No. 29 Wellington Bassey way, Uyo.
“With the above structure, the agency has been able to activate the BHCPF account with the office of the Accountant General of the Federation,” adding that the agency has commenced collaboration with the office of the Head of Service, a study tour to Bayelsa State health insurance agency and others and connecting with the National Health Insurance Agency for exchange of ideas.
Igbemi also said that the scheme would be guided by the operational guideline made by the benefit package provided by the national health insurance scheme. He further said that the law establishing the scheme provides for all levels of care with the primary health care being the first level of care.
According to him, the scheme will cover the organised private sector, the informal sector, groups, individual and family contribution, Community-Based Health Insurance Scheme, educational institutions, vulnerable group; basic health care provision fund,
adoption and contributions made on behalf of individuals by other persons.
Health Insurance is a social security network that guarantees the provision of needed health services to persons on the payment of token contributions at regular intervals.
Akwa Ibom State Health Insurance Agency came into existence on December 1st, 2021 when the former governor, Udom Gabriel Emmanuel signed the Health Insurance Bill into law, but became functional with the appointment of a substantial Executive Secretary on February 1st, 2023.
The agency has the mandate to manage and regulate the Health Insurance Scheme for all residents of Akwa Ibom State.