By Ann Azuka
The Director-General of the Delta State Contributory Health Commission(DSCHC), Dr. Ben Nkechika has disclosed that the state government has provided health insurance to Internally Displaced Persons(IDPs) in the state to improve their means of livelihood that have been eroded by the ravaging flood.
Nkechika who disclosed this while speaking with newsmen in Asaba weekend explained that the state government was determined to provide access to quality health services to all residents of the state irrespective of their socio-economic status and geographical location.
Dr. Nkechika who spoke alongside the State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu noted that with the enrollment of the Internally Displaced Persons into the Contributory Health Insurance, they would have access to free quality health care for one year even after leaving the camps.
According to him, the Commission is an agency of government established to implement the mandatory Delta State Contributory Health Scheme which is a health care financing programme geared towards ensuring access to quality health care services for all residents of Delta state.
“The programme started in January 2017 and till date we have over 1.2 million enrollees which is the highest in the country.
“The scheme is powered by 500 health facilities both government and private health care facilities accredited to provide health services under the scheme.
“Part of our mandate is meeting the health needs of people and we are currently faced with a situation where some people have been displaced as a result of the flood and they are largely going to have economic challenges which has affected their ability to have quality health care.
“They have lived in very rural communities and we are registering them into the scheme through an electronic process for the family three, father mother and children.
“We issue them with an identity card and with that they are able to refer them from an IDP camp to any of the public or private health care facilities for more care beyond what the camp can provide.
“All of these service is going to be done through the Delta State Contributory Health Commission and the premium would be paid for by the state government and it means they would be attended to free of charge for one year at any of the hospitals they are referred to even when they go back to their homes,” he said.
He further said “the biggest challenge to accessibility of health care for most poor people is affordability because we have seen situations where one medical challenge can wipe out a family’s earnings before the health condition is beyond what they can pay for.
“So this programme is designed to ensure that access is available to all people. Our strategy is to ensure that wherever you are in Delta you should be able to have access to quality health services.
“The premium is just N7,000 per annum which is subsidised by the state government for those who can afford to pay but for those who cannot, the government pays for them under the equity health plan.
“We also have funding from the federal government under the basic health care provision fund which we add to our equity health plan to provide free health care services to all vulnerable people in Delta State,” he stated.