Kwara State Health Insurance Programme Wins FT/IFC Transformational Business Awards

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Martins Ifijeh

The Financial Times and the International Finance Corporation has presented to the Kwara State Health Insurance Programme (KSHIP) the 2016 FT/IFC Transformational Business Award for Achievement in Sustainable Development: Maternal and Infant Health, in London, recently.

The awards which attracted 155 entries from recognised 219 stakeholders, involving projects in 92 countries, is a ground-breaking, long-term private sector solutions to key development issues.

In the words of the FT/IFC judges, the programme is “filling a tremendous systemic need for access to quality healthcare for women and children by forging partnerships with government, foundations, the private sector and the healthcare community.”

Accepting the award, the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed, noted that KSHIP has had a remarkable impact on the lives of low-income families in very remote areas of the state.
“The award is a key international commendation of our ongoing efforts in steadily and surely improving access to affordable and qualitative healthcare in Kwara State. Such results are a great motivation for us to find a long-term, sustainable health financing solution so that this programme can be expanded to benefit people across the state,” he explained.

According to him, KSHIP has shown an impressive rise in women giving birth in hospital, including women who were not in the health insurance programme, adding that hospital deliveries rose from 50 per cent in 2009 to 70 per cent in 2013, an increase which he said can be attributed to the program.

More than 76 per cent of the 115,000 enrollees are women and children. Since 2007, the programme has recorded, more than 900,000 patient visits. World Bank data show that, since the start of the programme, Kwara has become the second-best performing Nigerian state in maternal and child care.

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided funding to support this programme and pilot alternative mechanisms to the traditional development approach through the Health Insurance Fund.

Lending his voice, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Nigeria, Mr. John Groffen, said the Dutch government has contributed to the realisation of the health insurance programme through its funding, working together with the private insurer Hygeia Community Health Care, the Kwara State Government, the Health Insurance Fund and PharmAccess Foundation.

“The success of the programme shows the potential of PPPs and serves as a showcase on how to stimulate access to affordable and accessible healthcare throughout the country. For now it is up to Kwara State to continue the programme successfully, and for other states in Nigeria to copy and build on its achievements,” he noted.

On her part, the Country Director for PharmAccess Foundation Nigeria, Ms Njide Ndili, said Kwara programme set out to pilot an innovative model of healthcare delivery to low-income communities by risk pooling, stimulating demand for healthcare and institutionalising quality in the hospitals.

“The positive impact of the programme has been documented to prove that this is a model to be replicated with the government taking the lead on funding for its long-term sustainability. We are proud of this recognition by FT/IFC,” she added.