The Rivers House of Assembly has pledged its commitment to speedily enact laws that would enhance healthcare delivery in the state.
The Speaker of the House, Mr Ikuinyi Ibani, made the pledge at the opening session of a two-day high level training on enacting Rivers Health Insurance Scheme legislation which began on Thursday in Port Harcourt.
The training is in collaboration with the United State Agency for International Development (USAID).
Ibani said that as part of the steps to support the United Nations’ target of attaining Universal Health Coverage by 2030, the House would support robust policies and effective collaborations with relevant stakeholders in the health sector.
The Speaker said that he looked forward to improved capacity of the lawmakers in providing the requisite legal framework for a people-oriented health insurance scheme at the end of the training.
“This training is necessary as it would give legislators comprehensive knowledge about laws that could be of general application that will create positive impact in health care delivery.
“According to World Health Organisation (WHO) every year about 100 million people world-wide are pushed into poverty and about 150 others suffer financial catastrophe due to out-of-pocket expenditure on health services.
“Our direct collaboration with USAID at ensuring that the health insurance scheme is legally guided is an indication that that all members of our constituencies (individuals and communities) should have access to quality health without suffering financial hardship,’’ he said.
Also, Mr Emma Aguma, the state Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice, commended USAID for promoting healthcare in the state, especially the HIV/AIDS project.
Represented by Mrs Florence Fibresima, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Aguma said the Wike administration had made giant strides in healthcare and infrastructure development in the 23 local government areas of the state.
“Because we now have such infrastructure revolution going on, there is need for necessary regulatory framework to enable Rivers people to take advantage of the improvements that are being made available in the health sector,’’ she said.
The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Chike Princewill, gave the people the assurance of the state government’s readiness to run the best health insurance scheme.
He said the government was upgrading infrastructure and building capacity towards kick-starting the Rivers State Contributory Health Insurance Programme (RIVCHPP).
“RIVCHPP promises to be the best health insurance scheme in the country because it would start with already upgraded healthcare facilities across the 23 local governments.
“At Braithwait Memorial Hospital in Port Harcourt, the latest and sophisticated health equipment are being installed.
“Equipment such as MIR, latest CT Scans, special types of high performance equipment are being installed and training for health workers will be adequately addressed,’’ he said.
Responding, Mrs Chinelo Mmakwe, Rivers Programme Coordinator of Health Finance and Governance (HFG) expressed satisfaction at the ongoing revolution in the health sector.
She further expressed delight at the level of cooperation from the government in ensuring better healthcare delivery.
The coordinator urged the lawmakers to speed up the passage of the state health insurance scheme law so as to enable foreign donors to continue to support the sector.