Delta Health Insurance Scheme Hits 500,000 Enrollees

  • …As PharmAccess, BOI partner to revitalise 25 defunct healthcare facilities

Martins Ifijeh

Arguably the biggest mandatory health insurance scheme in Nigeria at the moment, the Delta State Contributory Health Scheme (DSCHS) has hit 500,000 subscribers with a mandate to enroll all residents of the state into the scheme in no time.

This is even as PharmAccess Foundation and the Bank of Industry (BOI) have partnered the state to help revitalize 25 defunct primary healthcare facilities as part of efforts to ensure the growing number of enrollees is able to access healthcare.

Stating this during the signing of a memorandum of understanding in Asaba recently, by the state government, PharmaAccess and Bank of Industry to ensure renovation and smooth operation of the PHCs, the Director General, DSCHS, Dr. Ben Nkechika said the 25 defunct health facilities were built and abandoned for long.

He said with the growing number of enrollees, the state Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa graciously approved the renovation of over 100 PHCs, adding that the state in November 2017 commenced the implementation of the scheme.

Nkechika stated that innovation which led to the signing of the agreement was very important “to achieving the desired milestone.

“With this agreement, the private sector will have access to funds at a single digit interest loan from the Bank of Industry to fix and run the abandoned health centres.

“This innovative product will ensure availability of 24 hours quality healthcare services across Delta for the state contributory health scheme, ensure continuity of healthcare services during strikes and other industrial disputes, as well as more healthcare service options for residents of Delta State,” he explained.

The signing was chaired by the Chairman of the Board of the DSHCS, Olorogun Isaac Apkoveta with other key government officials, including Nkechika, the Chairman of the Local Government Chairmen, Delta State Chapter, Itiako Ikpokpo and the representative of the Honorable Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ononye.

Sharing his thoughts, the board chairman said: “There are several health centres in different communities that have not been put to use, with this agreement, the private sector will take over the running of the centres, equip them to standard and ensure that they are operational 24 hours for our people who have enrolled in the contributory health insurance scheme”.

On her part, the Country Director, PharmAccess Foundation, Njide Ndili, stated that “the Medical Credit Fund is focused on developing innovative models to include the private sector to maximise efficiency and access to existing Primary Healthcare Centers anchored on health insurance”.

She added that the Access to Finance scheme was very important to make funds available to the private sector who will partner with the Delta State government in achieving quality and affordable healthcare for Deltans through the contributory health insurance scheme.

“The Medical Credit Fund of the PharmAccess Foundation would also provide partial guarantees to the Lenders on the loans they avail to the private sector players in addition to business development support to ensure sustainability.

“The facilities would also be quality assured through the adoption of the SafeCare methodology of the PharmAccess Foundation,” she added.

The Director Advocacy and Communications, PharmAccess Foundation, Dr. Olamide Okulaja appreciated the governor in solving the issues which plagueing PHCs in the country.

He further stated that with less than 5,000 out of over 24,000 PHCs functional in the country, this framework may represent a veritable way of providing a vibrant supply-side to the several demand-side activities springing up across the country, including the state health insurance schemes and the implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.

Chairman, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, Delta State Chapter, Itiako Ikpokpo, commended Okowa’s administration for its commitment to providing affordable health care for Deltans, disclosing that the governor had earlier approved for renovation of 107 health centres across the state.