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UNICEF urges governors to copy Oyo health insurance scheme



The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged state governments to emulate Oyo State Health Insurance Agency (OYSHIA) for the benefit of their citizenry. UNICEF Communication Officer, Lagos Office, Mrs. Blessing Ejiofor, said this on Monday at a two-day media dialogue on improving access to healthcare for women and children through social health insurance in Oyo.

According to her, the workshop will create opportunities for media advocacy on increasing access and uptake of healthcare services for children and vulnerable populations through insurance schemes. Ejiofor added that it would provide journalists with the knowledge and materials to support advocacy on increasing access to healthcare services through the scheme.

“Journalists are producing, publishing and airing accurate and informed stories and reports on access and uptake of healthcare services to aid leaders’ and citizens’ understanding and action,” she said.

The workshop, which ended yesterday, was organised by Oyo State Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, in collaboration with OYSHIA and supported by UNICEF. Executive secretary of OYSHIA, Dr. Olusola Akande, highlighted the global scorecard on social insurance, analysing the situation in Nigeria and Oyo in comparison with other countries.

Akande noted that the key objective of the scheme was to attain the Universal Health Coverage (UHC), ensuring that all people have access to needed care in sufficient qualities. He hinged the success of the scheme on financial protection, spreading risk and pooling funds, revealing that OYSHIA has over 100,000 enrollees across the 33 councils.

According to him, benefits of the scheme include standard plan with option of top-up that takes care of 80 to 90 per cent of primary healthcare, family plan and student plan, which are affordably charged for N8,000, N28,000 and N2,800 respectively.

“People have always had the misconception that health insurance is expensive and unaffordable; but this is not true. For N8,000, people can start paying N21.90k daily to enjoy our insurance scheme. People spend more on frivolities,” he explained.Akande, who stressed that “it changes the health-seeking habits of the enrollees,” identified beliefs, attitudes, customs, adverse selection and limited resources for advocacy among others as challenges facing the scheme.

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