A new health insurance program introduced in Plateau State last September may have reached the over 3000 communities in the State’s 335 electoral wards.
Officials of the Plateau State Bloggers and Online Media Association on Monday said they found the services in the “remotest villages” in the State.
Mr. Friday Bako, Chairman of the Bloggers union told Officials of the Plateau State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency (PLASCHEMA) that family incomes have improved in rural communities since the introduction of the insurance.
“The program has reduced family spendings on healthcare, thereby increasing resource availability and that probably underscores the mass reduction of insecurity in the State within the eight months of the program,” Bako said during a courtesy visit to the PLASCHEMA office.
Dr. Fabong Jemchang, the Director General of PLASCHEMA confirmed the program’s availability in “every ward of the State.”
Jemchang, a Clinical Physician said “We came on board in 2019 with the responsibility of seeing through the Sustainable Development Goals of achieving universal health coverage for the residents of Plateau State and we are about removing out-of-pocket expenditure, we are about alleviating the sufferings of people and we are about quality and creating equity.
“This agency also gives a massive opportunity for health system strengthening. There is no State ward that doesn’t have our presence. We have representatives and volunteers in the entire 335 State wards.”
The program established in 2019 took off officially in September, registering and issuing identify cards to subscribers.
While subscribers on Government payroll will be debited for the service from salaries, private subscribers will pay their monthly contributions personally to the agency.
The service is however free for elderly people, children, orphaned and vulnerable children, pregnant women and people living with disabilities, officials say.
State is currently constructing six hospitals to improve access to the service and provide “qualitative, preventive, therapeutic and rehabilitative healthcare” said the State Governor, Simon Lalong during the program’s flagoff in Jos.
Poorhealth access, according to Lalong, “particularly by the poor and vulnerable persons who are at the bottom of the social ladder” necessitated the new health program toward achieving Universal Health Coverage.
Thee scheme was established after consultations 79 stakeholders including Sustainable Development Goals, National Health Insurance Scheme, and State Universal Basic Education Board, it was learnt.
A new partnership with Bloggers and Online Media practitioners in the State might increase awareness and patronage for the program.