ASABA/Nigeria: Proud of its health success story in the last four years, the Delta State Government today flaunted its contributory health insurance policy to delegates of the Nigeria Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru for replication across the country.
Addressing Course 4 participants of the institute in Asaba, the Secretary to the State Government, Hon Festus Ovie Agas said that the theme of the study tour ‘Funding Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria’ was sustainable as countries all over the world strive to provide access to affordable healthcare services to its citizens.
“I am delighted to mention that as a state, we have reached an appreciable level which warranted the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to give an award of excellence to Delta State for having the best healthcare scheme and the highest number of children under-5 years and pregnant women benefiting from a free Healthcare scheme in Nigeria.
“Good health is necessary for individuals to make the most of life and create the inner strength to harness human potentials needed for national growth and development. Improving the wellbeing of the people is paramount to government and a lot has been done to address healthcare challenges in the state.
“One of such efforts is the establishment of Delta State Contributory Health Scheme at the inception of this administration to increase access to healthcare services” he said.
Continuing, the SSG stressed, “Government has continued to improve the quality of health services through physical infrastructure upgrades to enhance institutional capacity for service delivery, re-launching of emergency ambulance services to provide medical care and transport to definitive point of care as well as successful containment of disease.”
In another development, the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori said Delta State under the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa remained a model to other states as far as the health sector was concerned.
The speaker, represented by the House Committee Chairman on Health, Hon Alphonsus Ojo, said that upon his (Okowa) assumption of office in 2015, one of the first things the Governor did was to transmit the Delta State Contributory Health Bill to the legislature for consideration, stressing that other health laws such as the Sickle cell law were also operational in the state.
While receiving the policy makers to the state on their study tour, he suggested that other states should emulate the strides recorded by Delta State in the health sector.
The Course 41 team also visited the Ministry of Health where the the Commissioner, Dr Mordi Ononye stated,”The policy of the state government is Health for all Deltans, which guaranteed quality, affordable, available, accessible and comprehensive health care for all Deltans” stressing that the Delta State Contributory Health Insurance Scheme formed the cornerstone of the walk to universal health in the state.
He commissioner stated further. “Out-of-Pocket expenditure has been an identified challenge of our people in getting healthcare services at the point of need. This prompted the state Contributory Healthcare Scheme initiated by Governor Okowa in 2015. In doing so, we had to establish structures across the state and an appropriate finance and funding scheme to enable us achieve sustainability because the issue of healthcare cannot be left to government alone.
“The state government is presently working on having at least one functional Primary Healthcare Centre in all the wards of the state. We also have Delta State Primary Healthcare Development Agency charged with the responsibility of overseeing all the primary health centers in the 25 local Government Areas of the in the state.
The course participants who were drawn from various fields of public endeavor such as the civil service, the military, the police, the media and the health sector among others, expressed satisfaction after an interactive session with concerned stakeholders in the state government.
In his remarks, the Acting Director-General of the Institute, Jonathan Juma mni, said that the essence of the study tour was in fulfillment of admission into the institute and onward transmission of findings to the Presidency for consideration, even as he admitted the warmth and hospitality of the state since their arrival.