By: Oginyi Nkechinyere/Ebonyi
The sum of N450 million has been allocated to Ebonyi State government through the Health Policy (HP) plus, of the United States Agency for International Development USAID for the commencement of Health insurance Scheme in the state.
The Country Director of HP+, Mr. Onoriode Ezire who disclosed this during a courtesy visit by the team from the National Health Insurance Scheme and it’s development partners to the Governor at his office, Government House, Abakaliki, commended Governor Umahi for his political will and drive towards establishing the Health insurance Scheme.
He described the Insurance Scheme as a catalyst for development adding that their visit to the state was as a result of the Governors visit to the Agency.
Mr. Ezire noted that HP+ had track record of transferring the financial narrative of Health cases as well as develop manpower capacity and policies for the Health sector, pointed out that for Health insurance Scheme to fully take off in the state, USAID would first assess selected medical facilities with a view to partnering in their upgrade, as well as train the committees, the officers in charge and other personnel from ward levels.
The Country Director however, expressed satisfaction with the governor for the arrangement on ground so far for the programme, adding that State was capable of attracting to N1 billion to add to already existing fund for the driving of the Scheme.
The leader of the team and Overseeing Director of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Mr. Ben Omogho, while stating their mission said they were in the State to interface with the State Government on the technical and procedural requirements for the kick-off of the scheme.
He explained that the scheme which covers nine major health aspects: Malaria, Child mortality, Pregnancy etc has been operative at the federal level since 2005.
He however noted that the review in 2012 gave approval for the States to join the scheme while the 2014 National Health Act stipulates that both the federal and state governments should provide at least, 1 percent of their statutory allocations to the scheme.
Responding, Governor Umahi expressed the readiness of the State to key into the scheme, adding that the State has already set up a board to oversee the scheme with an appointed chairman.