The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has assured that no fewer than 1 million persons in the state will be beneficiaries of the Edo Health Insurance Scheme (Edo-HIS) by the end of the year 2021.
The governor said this at the Edo State Health Insurance Summit with the theme, “Health Insurance for All: Policy, Process and Framework – Developing an All-Inclusive Coverage”, held in Benin City.
Obaseki said the focus of the scheme is to make healthcare accessible and affordable to people in the state on a sustainable basis, noting, “With about 200 million people in the country, it is unrealistic to fund healthcare from the budget. We are moving away from that mode where healthcare is predominantly funded by government and encouraging private participation.”
He said funding healthcare was a critical aspect of the Edo Health Improvement Programme (EdoHIP), adding that the state government was setting aside two per cent of its federal allocation for both state and local government councils for the implementation of the programme.
The governor noted that achieving universal health coverage in the state was possible with the amount of work being done by the Edo Health Insurance Commission.
“We are improving healthcare access through investment in facilities and equipment, training of personnel and digitalising our healthcare services”, Obaseki added.
In his welcome address, the Edo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Patrick Okundia, said the summit was to get stakeholders’ input in the development of a blueprint for the effective implementation of the Edo Health Insurance Scheme.
According to him, “The Edo State Health Insurance scheme is aimed at delivering quality healthcare to the doorsteps of the people across the state with a view to achieving the universal health coverage.”
In his lecture titled, “Health Insurance and Reforms: A growing trend in Africa”, Dr. Nathaniel Otoo, commended the political will of the Governor Obaseki-led administration on the implementation of the health insurance scheme for its citizens.
He said Nigeria and Ghana had not been able to contribute 5 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or allocate 15 per cent of their budget to healthcare, a situation that makes the countries lag behind in healthcare delivery.
According to him, “As long as African countries do not contribute to healthcare with local funding, grants from donor agencies would continue to dwindle in the future.”
“For the Edo Insurance scheme to be efficient and sustainable, there should be information sharing among healthcare providers and Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs), acceptability of the scheme by the people, strategic purchasing, active participation of Civil Society Organisations and accountability”, he added.
On his part, the Director-General of the Edo Health Insurance Commission, Dr. Rock Amego, promised to ensure that about 50 percent of citizens enrol for the scheme by the year 2024, noting that the commission met with chairmen of local government councils on the need for people in their councils to participate in the scheme.
He said that primary healthcare facilities in the state are being strengthened to enable them support private and public health care providers in service delivery.
He added that the source of funding for the health coverage would be gotten from basic health care provision and equity fund.