Fubara makes history, launches, Health Insurance Contributory Scheme in Rivers

Governor Siminalayi Fubara and his Deputy, Prof.Mrs Ngozi 
Odu enroll into the state  Health Insurance Contributory Scheme as the first and second citizens of the State

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt 

Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, has said that the State’s Contributory Health Insurance Scheme will offer households a measure of financial protection against healthcare costs and help resolve inequality in the provision of available services.

The Governor, therefore, charged managers of the scheme to be unbiased while administering the scheme so that the most vulnerable in the society are not deprived from accessing critically needed healthcare services.

Governor Fubara’s charge,was contained in a press statement issued by Nelson Chukwudi,Chief Press Secretary,CPS, to Governor when he formally launched the public sector Contributory Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS), which is the State’s health insurance programme, shortly after inaugurating the Comprehensive Primary Health Centre in Ndoni Town in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area.

The Governor, who became the first to be enrolled on the scheme and followed by his Deputy, Prof Ngozi Odu, said the scheme must foster an inclusive and equitable healthcare access for the people of the State.

According to him, “With what I am seeing here, we didn’t make any mistake in ensuring that the Health Insurance Programme commenced in our State. It is to increase access to healthcare for the people.

“With this, most families that cannot afford expensive healthcare services outside their means, can leverage on this service that has been rolled out.

“But it is proper for me to also add that while we are doing this, we shouldn’t undermine the scheme. The services should be properly utilised and the funds released should be applied prudently to achieve the purpose,” he said.

On her part, the Acting Executive Secretary of the Rivers State Contributory Health Insurance Scheme, Dr Vetty Agala, said the scheme will enhance chances of achieving universal access to healthcare services in the State.

Dr Agala explained that with the official flag-off done, her team will embark on a round of enrollment of persons unto the scheme in all 317 political wards in the 23 local government areas of the State.

“Today, we are here to flag-off the enrollment of the scheme. Your Excellency, we want to thank you for graciously permitting and approving that Rivers State Contributory Health Insurance Scheme be implemented.

“Rivers people can now, indeed, access healthcare without having to pay at the point of service. At all of our programmes, women, people living with disability, the aged and children under five years can walk into this centre or where they are registered, show their cards and be attended to free of charge,” she added.

Highpoints of the launch were the registration of the Governor and his Deputy, fingerprinting and capturing of both, and presentation of Insurance Identity Cards to the Number One and Number Two Citizens of the State.

It would be recalled that before the launch, Rivers State was the only State in the country without public sector-driven health insurance scheme, even as the National Health Insurance Scheme has broadened its capacity and offerings to beneficiaries.

The National Health Insurance Scheme is a body set up by Decree 35, of 1999 (now Act 35) operating as Public Private Partnership and directed at providing accessible, affordable and qualitative healthcare for all Nigerians.

On May 19, 2022, the NHIA ACT was enacted by the National Assembly, and was officially gazetted by the Federal Government of Nigeria as the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) on May 24, 2022.

An offshoot of the NHIS, the Rivers State Contributory Health Protection Programme Bill was signed into law on June 21, 2021, to enable residents and people of the State who want health insurance to participate in the scheme.

However, the process, which began in June 2016, will now ensure that millions of Rivers people who currently pay out-of-pocket for health services will subsequently become covered and have access to quality health services, where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship.