HEI to Support Poor Nigerians for Cheap Health Services

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Martins Ifijeh

To reduce death rate caused by lack of cheap health services, Health Emergency Initiative (HEI), said it would pull funds together to save the lives of poor Nigerians who cannot afford payment of low cost services in the country.

HEI’s Board of Trustee Chairman, Dr. Ndi Onuekusi, who stated this during a press briefing on Accident Victim Campaign recently in Lagos by the humanitarian body, said it was unfortunate that people die on a daily basis because they are unable to pay for cheap health services as low as two thousand naira.

He said although the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is currently running, those who are not covered in the scheme (mostly the unemployed) lack appropriate healthcare, hence the need for HEI to mobilise funds from individuals and corporate persons which in turn will be used to pay for cheap health services of the poor, adding that the idea is to make sure everyone has access to healthcare.

“Many Nigerians have lost their lives because of lack of N2,000 for healthcare services. We need to stop this through our self sacrificed values. We would love every Nigerian to contribute N500 monthly through our banking system to pull funds together. Over 150 persons have benefitted from this initiative, and we are currently working with 20 hospitals.”

Chairman, Hospital Engagement Committee, HEI, Mr. Kanayo Okonkwo said the initiative was presently working on signing memorandum of understandings with general hospitals, adding that they have been visiting hospitals to supervise emergency cases needing financial assistance.

“My department fills in the gap by visiting these hospitals and checking case files of patients to ensure they are truly indigent before we intercede.

The Unit Commander, FRSC, Lagos State, Mr. Charles Ibe, who represented FRSC Sector Commander, Lagos State, called on health workers not to refuse to attend to accident victims.

“Most times when we go to rescue people and take them to hospitals for treatment, health workers are sometimes not willing to treat them. Even a five minutes assistance can save somebody’s life. Likewise a little money can save a life. We want the hospitals to understand that there is a need for them to accepts victims irrespective of whether they are known or not.”

Commending HEI, Ibe appreciated the initiative for pulling out funds to help poor Nigerians and most specially to save lives.

Beneficiaries of the initiative who were present at the event gave testimonies of how they have been rescued from death.

Mrs. Aina Shittu said, “I had already lost hope when my baby, Zainab Shittu was sick. I took her to FMC Ebute Metta. Although she was on NHIS, it couldn’t cover for drug. We exhausted all we had in our account and we needed to get N5,000 worth of drugs. HEI came to our rescue and supported our child. Today she is alive,” she added.