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Cross River declares free medical care for taxable adults




Cross River State government has declared free medical care for residents.

Officials say the programme is embeded in the state’s “Health Insurance Scheme,” which was signed into law yesterday by Governor Ben Ayade.

Giving details on the scheme, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor/Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Christian Ita, said: “Every taxable adult will be required to make a N1,000 payment in a month, which allows access to a free medicare.”

Ita, who stated that in a year, a taxable adult will pay N12,000, before getting free medicare in any government hospital, said the governor had paid N10 million to the fund managers who would manage the fund for the scheme.

According to him: “We will use whatever money we are able to raise to build first-class hospitals across the state and people will have free medicare once they pay that initial amount of N1,000 per month. You will just walk in for free treatment and nobody will ask you for money.”

He said with the free medical care, it is expected that the rate of child/mother mortality would reduce drastically as some people due to lack of money, often patronise herbal homes or rely on faith healing by going to churches.

Besides, to further boost good health programme in the state and discourage patronage of traditional herbal homes and ensure
people in rural areas have access to drugs and medical care, the state government has planned to ban women from patronising unskilled birth attendants to reduce high rate of maternal and infant mortality at birth.

Meanwhile, Director-General, Cross River State Primary Health Care Agency, Dr. Beta Edu, who decried the high rate of women patronising Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs), said this was not acceptable.

He said: “We met a very poor situation at the end of MDG in 2015; maternal mortality in Nigeria did not reduce. It was at 545 deaths per a 100,000 live birth but at the end of MDG 2015, instead of going down, it went up to 576 deaths per 100,000 live births. This is a very sad situation. So, we met a very rough situation; and our target is to see that we reduce maternal mortality in Cross River State, which will equally rob off on the nation.

“Right now, we have only 42 per cent of women delivering with skilled birth attendants. This is really not good, if we wish to reduce maternal mortality. So, we have to check that trend and correct things.”

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