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World Bank, others commend Delta govt for access to finance programme

By Chukwuma Muanya
02 September 2022   |   4:11 am
The World Bank, Federal Ministry of Health, the Senate and The Netherlands have commended Delta State Government for achieving 25 per cent Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through the state’s access to finance programme and its mandatory contributory health scheme.

Ifeanyi Okowa

• Okowa revitalises primary healthcare centres via public private partnership
• Says 25% of residents enrolled in contributory health insurance

The World Bank, Federal Ministry of Health, the Senate and The Netherlands have commended Delta State Government for achieving 25 per cent Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through the state’s access to finance programme and its mandatory contributory health scheme.

They said the programme would reverse brain-drain in the health sector, increase enrolment in health insurance scheme and ensure attainment of UHC by 2030.

Senior Health Specialist, World Bank, Dr. Olumide Okunola, yesterday, at the impact study dissemination of the Delta State access to finance programme with the theme, “Primary Healthcare Revitalisation via Public Private Partnership,” said: “Nigeria has delayed UHC. UHC is when every citizen has access for affordable and quality healthcare without suffering catastrophic economic situation. It is good to see innovation taken to scale in some parts of this country, particularly in Delta State.

“We have problem in demand and supply side of healthcare services. Things are happening more on the demand side where there are people demanding care than on the supply side. So, the problem is functionality. We are here to celebrate how Delta State used policy to change the trajectory. So, we have an innovative framework, which Delta State has imbibed.”

Okunola said the impact study shares explicit experiences from the state’s equity health plan for the poor and vulnerable, showing that using the above-stated approach significantly impacts population health.

“We, therefore, recommend adopting the Delta State mandatory contributory health scheme model for health insurance coverage expansion across Nigeria with a significant focus on poor and vulnerable populations,” he added.

Minister of State for Health, Joseph N. Ekumankama, said: “Access to essential healthcare is an integral part of social protection, which refers to the policies and programmes aimed at ensuring a life of dignity and removal of financial barriers to accessing essential social services – including primary healthcare – throughout the life cycle.

“The successes recorded by the scheme demonstrate the critical role of strong political support from the government and elaborate stakeholders’ engagement for the successful roll-out of any social health protection programme.”

Also, Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Dr. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, said: “When Okowa was Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, the National Health Act 2004 was passed and signed into law. He has pioneered so many things. This programme has shown us innovative and sustainable way of doing things.”

Consul General, Embassy of the Netherlands, Lagos, Mr. Michel Deelen, said: “We are very proud to be associated with the project. It has shown that if we sit with stakeholders, you will achieve so much. We can be very proud on what has been achieved.”

Managing Director, Medical Credit Fund of the Netherlands, Dr. Arjan Poels, said: “We have deployed $150 million in six African countries, including Nigeria. This something that is completely different. It has been excellent model upgrading PHC centres. I think this model should be copied in other parts of Nigeria. The goal is to increase and improve healthcare throughout Africa.”