February 4, 2023

Plateau aims to stop citizens funding own healthcare needs

Dr. Fabong Jemchang, DG PLASCHEMA addresses media in Jos on 29 April

JOS – 29 April 2022: Officials in Nigeria’s Plateau State say out-of-pocket spending by citizens on healthcare is prolonging poverty in the State.

An out-of-pocket expense (or out-of-pocket cost, OOP) is the direct payment of money that may or may not be later reimbursed from a third-party source according to the Wikipedia.

More than 70% (2.4million people) of the State’s 3.5million population currently suffer “catastrophic” out-of-pocket expenses on healthcare, said Dr. Fabong Jemchang, the Director General of the Plateau State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency (PLASCHEMA) to journalists on 29 April.

Such expenses were shrinking family incomes and expanding the spread of poverty in the State, said Mr. Jemchang at a media parley in Jos, the capital of the State.

“Poverty magnifies the need for healthcare while shrinking the capacity to finance it,” said Jemchang.

He noted, PLASCHEMA – a health insurance unit established by the state government in 2019 was making frantic efforts to stop had set out to ease healthcare financing burdens on families.

So far, Jemchang said the body has enrolled 28,565 beneficiaries into its Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF), 11,398 principal beneficiaries and 31,460 dependents into its Social Health Insurance Scheme (PSHIS) including 340 informal beneficiaries.

Unlike the PSHIS which attracts premium from self-registered beneficiaries, the BHCPF established under the Nigerian Health Insurance Act 2014  exists to provide free healthcare to the “poorest of the poor” and vulnerable groups in the State, said Jemchang.

The beneficiaries are independently selected by PLASCHEMA from the National Social Register, the State Bureau of Statistics and related channels, he said.