Ogun unveils community health insurance scheme

Sekinat Salam-Opebiyi, Abeokuta

The Ogun State government has launched a new health insurance scheme for its citizens.

The community based health scheme tagged ‘Araya’ is to provide affordable health care service to residents’ of the State.

It is also designed to provide financial protection against the causes of illness and improving access to health services for those excluded from the formal insurance.

Inaugurating the project in Abeokuta, the state capital, Governor Ibikunle Amosun said his government would not compromise its promise in providing quality health care service to the people.

Amosun reiterated that the political will to sustain the programme would not be put at risk.

The government launched ‎the pilot phase of Araya scheme in April 2014 and conducted it in eight local government areas, the Araya scale-up would start in two local government areas.

“The government will expand the scheme into the remaining 18 local government areas before the end of 2016,’’ the governor assured the people.

“We have put in place machinery to ensure sustainability of the scheme beyond the life of this government. An executive bill will soon be presented to the House of Assembly to make health insurance available to all strata of population in the state,’’ he explained.

The programme is free for pregnant women, children under age five, nursing mothers and the elderly. Other beneficiaries are expected to pay 4,000 Naira to enjoy a full package of the scheme for one year while the government will subsidise the cost of health care for the general populace.

Other health measures
In the last one year, the Ogun State government had provided malaria preventive treatment and long lasting insecticidal nets to over 400,000 pregnant women attending ante-natal care at primary health centers.

Through the Ministry of Health, the State gave oral polio vaccine to 2,129,417 children during the first round ‎and 2,127,154 children during the second round of polio immunization.

“During the same period 1,031,372 children have also received measles vaccine. I, therefore, make bold to say that Ogun State did not record a single case of measles during the last national outbreak of measles in Nigeria,” Amosun added.

At the event, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole restated the commitment of the Nigerian government towards ensuring the attainment of universal health coverage.

Professor Adewole said that President Buhari’s government would pursue reforms ‎in the health sector, stressing that it is diligently to operationalise the National Health Act which was signed under the previous administration.

“We are working closely with the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS and other relevant agencies such as the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency and various States to ensure a coordinated implementation of a sustainable health financing strategy for Nigeria.

 “Part of the health reform of the present government is to make primary healthcare the bedrock of the health system. I must inform you of the commitment of the Nigerian government to ensure the attainment of the Universal Health Coverage goal,” the Health Minister explained.