As the world marks the Universal Health Coverage Day, the people of Kogi State have been advised to key into the state government’s health initiatives to achieve set goals.
Chief Medical Director of the Reference Hospital Okene Prof. Solomon Avidime, while speaking on the Day, which is marked on 12th December annually, said government under Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello has fared well and is on track in attaining the Universal Health Coverage.
Prof. Avidime pointed out that government efforts in the health sector is commendable especially in the construction of state of the art hospitals across the state, provision of equipment, necessary infrastructure and manpower for quality healthcare delivery.
He stated that government investment in human resources, the state Health Insurance Scheme and the BelloCare initiative are veritable tools aimed at meeting the Sustainable Development Goals of health for all.
While noting this year’s theme, “Health for all: Time for action”, the CMD emphasized the need to track the progress made so far in giving the people affordable and accessible healthcare to overcome the challenge of poverty and inability to pay for health care.
Prof. Avidime advocated a widening of reach of the National and State Health Insurance Schemes to the informal sector with a view to giving people such as artisans, small scale business owners the opportunity to contribute to and enjoy the benefits of the scheme.
“Apart from the BelloCare and the State Health Insurance Scheme, there is also now focus on the informal sector, bringing in the artisans, bringing in community-based organizations, for them to form groups to be able to access the scheme. ”
According to him, the Universal Health Coverage Day seeks to enable the people have access to healthcare services when required without financial or geographical barrier as it was one of the greatest challenge of attaining health care especially at the rural areas.
The CMD explained further, “What I think is important is for the media to bring this up because people are not still buying into it particularly the non-formal sector. People feel that why will I contribute to insurance scheme when I do not need the services now, not understanding that it’s better to pool the money so that when you need the services, you can access the care without having to bear the whole financial burden.”
“People should embrace the NHIS and the State Health Insurance Scheme and then we need to propagate this on radio, television and other news media to create awareness that people should buy into the various health insurance scheme that are available in order to secure access to healthcare without having to bear the total burden of the cost. It is important to also stress that healthcare services are expensive and the government has borne a lot of burden… but the people should key in and then contribute to their own healthcare system so that there could be health for all to align with WHO target for Universal Health Coverage.”, he stated.
Reference Hospital, Okene