Niger to establish own Health Insurance Scheme

The Niger State Government says it will establish a state owned Health Insurance Scheme (SHIS) to boost health care service delivery to it’s residents.

Mr. John Paul, Chairman, House Committee on Health in the state House of Assembly, disclosed this in Minna.“The House is proposing a bill for the establishment of the SHIS and all the 25 local government councils of the state would be mandated to key into the programme,” he said.

Paul said that the programme would be championed by the Speaker of the House,Mr. Ahmed Marafa, starting from Chanchaga Local Government Area.

He explained that the SHIS programme is targeting rural dwellers who do not have easy access to healthcare services because most of the general hospitals are in urban areas.

According to him, farmers in rural areas will be asked to contribute a small amount of money on monthly basis and the state government would also contribute.“The money that will be contributed will be used to purchase drugs for the scheme for free health care service delivery in hard-to-reach communities. Seventy per cent of our population is found in these hard-to-reach communities and consists of farmers.

They have fewer resources, little basic infrastructure, less education, bad means of transportation and they are also mostly vulnerable women and children. Innocent children and pregnant women have lost their lives because the health facilities are not within their reach either due to poor roads or non-availability of health facilities,” he said.

The lawmaker noted that the present administration of Gov. Abubakar Bello had prioritized the health sector through plans to establish functional Primary Health care Centres (PHCs) across the state.

He said that the establishment of PHCs in the 274 electoral wards would eradicate the problem of poor health care service delivery in rural communities.

He also expressed optimism that the proposed SHIS would bring qualitative health care service delivery in rural communities as the facilities would be within their reach.