With Proper Information, BHCPF is no Threat to Health Insurance, Says Nkechika

Ben Nkechika

Martins Ifijeh

The Director General, Delta State Contributory Health Commission (DSCHC), Dr. Ben Nkechika has stated that if the implementation manual of the Basic Health Care Provisions Fund (BHCPF) is properly applied as a healthcare financing mechanism, it would pose no threat to health insurance scheme.

Stating this at the launch of the BHCPF in Delta State recently, he said the federal government programme would complement health insurance schemes in the various states across the country, especially in rural areas, adding that with proper integration, they can both work seamlessly with beneficiaries getting the most out of both healthcare programmes.

Nkechika, whose DSCHC has enrolled over 500,000 residents of the state said: “We understand this possibility in Delta State, which is the reason we have embraced the BHCPF.

“For instance, in Delta, once a resident registers for the BHCPF programme, he or she is then automatically registered for the Delta State Contributory Health Scheme programme, and the only reason we can do that is because we have an existing health insurance programme which gives us the advantage to fast track our implementation of the programme in all local governments of the state.

“So, anybody that comes to a facility to receive free healthcare under the BHCPF program is automatically on our insurance scheme.

“What further happens is that we then encourage beneficiaries to top up their benefit package so they can have access to complete healthcare services on the health insurance programme. We are discussing this seamless collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health.”

On specifics, he said if for instance DSCHS benefit package has 10 items and the BHCPF benefit package has three items inside the 10, it then means that one to three in the total benefit package will be covered free of charge from the BHCPF, while items four to 10 will be covered under the state health scheme, and that upon registering for premium, the beneficiary of the BHCPF programme will also access healthcare services from the health insurance scheme.

He said integrating BHCPF into healthcare services was a done deal because the state Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa championed the National Health Act 2014 which birthed the BHCPF which is now been pushed for implementation across the country.

“Okowa is passionate about primary healthcare, not for only Deltans, but for all Nigerians. That is why today, we have the NHA 2014, which brought into existence the BHCPF we are having today.”

Nkechika said this was why the commission has invested in Information Communication and Technology (ICT) system, adding that in health centres without doctors or nurses, the Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) can comfortably operate the ICT platforms from the point of diagnosis of a patient to the point of treatment or referral of that patient. “We already have a foundation to make the BHCPF successful in the state,” he added.