A scheme to guarantee universal access to basic healthcare is to be introduced in Kaduna State. The state government is already providing free health services for pregnant women, children under five years and the elderly.
The proposed scheme is designed to widen the net of coverage, and ensure that all residents of the state, including the poor and vulnerable, have access to healthcare without incurring out-of-pocket expenditure.
The Kaduna State Executive Council on September 26 approved the establishment of a Contributory Health Scheme that will provide access to quality healthcare packages to all residents of the state.
This scheme removes the financial barriers to healthcare that often exclude the poor and vulnerable who cannot afford the out-of-pocket expenditure hospital treatment currently requires. The objective is to make healthcare accessible and affordable for all.
Paul Dogo, Commissioner of Health and Human Services, says that a bill setting out the legal framework for this programme will be sent to the State House of Assembly, as directed by the State Executive Council. A pool of funds contributed by residents will ensure that universal coverage can be provided for anyone who requires healthcare.
“The provisions in the draft bill for the establishment of the Kaduna State contributory health scheme is such that out-of-pocket expenditure is completely removed, so there will be no financial impediment to healthcare. Basic healthcare package will be provided to all citizens of Kaduna state following very little contributions from residents.”
These contributions from residents will be supplemented by other funds, Dr. Dogo said.
“Of course there are other sources of funds that will be utilised for the insurance. There are state funds that will be given by the state government for the vulnerable groups in the state; there are also funds from the basic health contributory funds provision which is meant for the pregnant woman and children under five. This fund is coming from the Federal Government through the National Health Insurance Scheme. What is going to happen is that a draft law will be sent to the House of Assembly for passage into law so that Kaduna state will have Contributory Health Scheme.
“Generally the premium will be determined by the agency that will be supervising the contributory health scheme; but one thing I can say is that it is going to be very affordable because the scheme is about providing affordable quality health package for the people of the state, so it is involving all residents.”
The scheme will start operating once the State Assembly passes the Bill into law.
The government is determined to remove hindrances to accessing healthcare by all residents. Mr. Dogo explained that the National Health Insurance Health Scheme (NHIS) still has only limited coverage, and the NHIS is nudging state governments to find ways to ensure that more of their residents have health coverage.
“The NHIS has been operating for quite a while. But the coverage is quite disappointing, which is somewhere in the region of 6 per cent of the population, largely because many states did not key into the scheme. So the Federal Government had to think out of the box and is encouraging all states to come up with their health scheme.”
Kaduna State will receive technical support from NHIS to achieve universal coverage in the state as far as the provision of basic healthcare is concerned.