By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Kwara State Government in partnership with PharmAccess Foundation weekend unveiled a health initiative called ‘Access Care’ in the state.
The statewide Health insurance scheme is aimed at providing quality and affordable healthcare for residents of the state.
The process which is said to have started in 2007 with a subsidized community health insurance program for lower income communities (income averaging $1.25 dollar per day), was financed by the Dutch Government through the Dutch Health Insurance Fund, and PharmAccess.
This groundbreaking event which was held over the weekend brought together government officials, traditional rulers, development partners, media, and other stakeholders in the health sector.
Speaking on the launch, the Governor of Kwara state, Mr AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq, said that his government will continue to ensure that all residents of the state have access to quality and affordable healthcare.
He thanked PharmAccess foundation and the Dutch Health Insurance fund for their unwavering support to the State.
Also speaking at the event, the Executive Secretary of the Kwara Health Insurance Agency, Dr Olubunmi Jetawo-Winter, stressed that the mandatory health insurance scheme will put an end to out of pocket expenditure saying that residents of the state will now have access to quality healthcare when they need it.
Giving her goodwill message, the CEO of PharmAccess, Monique Dolfing, commended the Kwara state government, stating that it has commenced its journey towards attaining Universal Health Coverage.
She also added that PharmAccess foundation will continue to provide technical assistance to aid the success of the statewide health insurance scheme.
On his part, the Country Director of PharmAccess, Njide Ndili, in her address said that the transition from voluntary partner-led health insurance to State-led mandatory health insurance is a major step to attaining Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as well as providing affordable and quality healthcare service delivery to residents irrespective of their social status.
She said: “The successful implementation of the community health scheme led to the transition of the state-wide mandatory health insurance scheme which paved the way for a more inclusive and sustainable financing of health for Kwara state residents.”
Meanwhile, the Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Nigeria, Jan Van Weijen congratulated the Kwara state government, noting that the health insurance scheme gives prospects for healthier future for the residents of the state. He also added that the Netherlands will continue to collaborate with the State in its efforts towards the provision of affordable and quality healthcare delivery.
PharmAccess Nigeria is an entrepreneurial organization focused on making health markets work through digital innovations.
“Today, we launched Kwara State Health Insurance Scheme for residents of Kwara state.
“We are starting this scheme by on boarding at least 10,000 of the extremely poor among our people. Their premiums have been fully paid. This means the health insurance is 100% free for them.
“We hope to expand this and capture many more vulnerable people in the coming years.
“A major agenda of this administration is to ensure that Kwara State ticks all the right boxes and achieves the SDGs by 2030. This is beyond empty slogans. Yesterday, we began the disbursement,” said the Governor.