Scaling up access to health finance scheme in Delta State
*Local government chairmen engage PharmAccess, private providers, investors on initiative
As part of efforts to scale up access to health finance scheme or rather health insurance in Delta State, local government chairmen engaged PharmAccess, private providers and investors.
At a symbolic event held in Lagos State on February 6, 2020, the Delta State Government, led by the Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Delta State Chapter, Hon. Itiako Ikpokpo, met with several stakeholders including the PharmAccess Foundation, private providers, potential investors and the Bank of Industry on the state of primary care in Delta State.
The other delegations of the Delta State Government included five other Council chairmen of the Delta State Government, the Director General (DG) of the Delta State Contributory Health Commission (DSCHC) and his team, Dr. Ben Nkechika, and the Executive Assistant to the Executive Governor on Primary Healthcare, Hon. Dr. Alphonsus Ojo.
Ikpokpo, in his opening speech, said it was imperative for the state government to begin to consider new and innovative frameworks that would see all Deltans, irrespective of their socioeconomic status or geographical location, have access to quality healthcare services. He cited that the Government no longer had the required funds to solely carry out this responsibility and must begin to consider a constructive partnership with the private sector. He quoted the Access to Finance Scheme – championed by the Delta State Contributory Health Commission (DSCHC), the PharmAccess Foundation and the Bank of Industry – as one of such frameworks that should be scaled up to spread across the entire state for all residents to benefit equally. He also mentioned that, although there were already enough buildings for primary care, it was important to see how the government could collaborate effectively with the private sector to ensure that the buildings were functional and able to deliver quality healthcare services. However, he stressed the need for stakeholders to reconvene and see how the private sector can co-inhabit with existing structures and staff to mitigate the resistance against such schemes worthy of emulation.
In support of the Chairman of Chairmen, several other Chairmen spoke on the need to partner effectively with the private sector to ensure that residents of their different LGAs had access to quality care.
In his presentation on the progress of the Delta State Health Scheme, the DG of the Scheme, Dr. Ben Nkechika, said that the scheme has registered almost 700,000 residents in the state, with the registrations of the informal sector being the least at 8,000 residents. He mentioned that there was a need to incentivize the informal sector to get on the scheme and one of the ways in doing this is to build their trust by revitalizing the primary healthcare centers. He mentioned that till date, the Commission has paid over N1 billion to secondary and tertiary hospitals for the provision of healthcare services, which could have been paid to the primary healthcare centers if they were functional and available. Shockingly, only a paltry N18 million has gone into the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) so far.