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– As Hospitals in Zaria cry for inadequate space, doctors 

By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo 

Hospitals in Zaria, Kaduna State have appealed to the relevant authorities to provide them with more staff so as to cater for the increasing health care needs of community members. 

This is coming as the Kaduna Contributory Health Management Authority (KADCHMA) announced that  521,096 persons in the state have enrolled in the health insurance scheme.

Speaking to a team of experts that comprised of Health workers and journalists from the State Media Working Group of Save the Children International led by Dr Joseph Natsa in Zaria at the weekend, on a visit to Major Ibrahim Abdullahi memorial hospital Sabon Gari Zaria (MIBA hospital Zaria), on arrival at the hospital the group met with the hospital matron, Hadiza Abubakar. who made an appraisal of their activities, problems and prospects as regards the Universal Health Coverage.

She said after the consultation, a patient goes to the pharmacy and get the free drugs available. But if the free drugs are not available, they write for the patient to buy.

She said they get a very big turn out of clients because the hospital is strategically located.

She, however, complained of a lack of enough space in the hospital.

She said the hospital has not had enough bed space as they have only 27 beds for both adults and paediatrics.

According to her, when the hospital is full, they have to refer to Gambo Sawaba General Hospital in Zaria, because it won’t be fair to ask patients to go home. She said they also refer emergency cases, to the big hospitals.

Dr Natsa explained the basics about the Health Care Provision Fund, maintaining that since the team was not on a fault-finding mission but to fill the knowledge gap, it was part of its mandate to educate her and other members of the public on the importance of going to the hospital.

He took time to explain to her in the Hausa language, at the end of which she expressed with delight that she now knew about the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, and other related information.

Among the issues that were explained to her included among others: Basic Health Care Provision Fund which is all about money earmarked by the Federal Government, the consolidated revenue, which is subsequently disbursed to states, the remaining money that remained at the Federal level, one per cent is shared to the states, Kaduna inclusive, for the citizens to benefit from the fund

He also explained to her about NHIS and KADCHAM., etc.

He told her that the Kaduna State Government has on its own, take one per cent of its consolidated fund, which is geared to the provision of health care for the vulnerable, poor population.

The Matron later took the team to the section where outpatients were awaiting medical attention.

Some patients, two males and two females were interviewed by the Journalists in the team,a summary of the entire interview was that the 4 patients interviewed lacked knowledge of the innovations, provision and methods of accessing these windows in both the Federal and state supra ministerial health concerns.

Dr Anthony Hycienth, the Medical Director of the hospital, said the hospital lacked enough space, while the building project to provide enough space in the hospital is stalled, the project stopped in May 2021.

According to him, the hospital has only 4 doctors.

The team from Save the Children, therefore, recommended to the government, to create space and infrastructure in the hospital due to the strategic location of the secondary health facility (SHF).

Also, the need to sensitize the health workers at the SHF on the Kaduna state contributory health scheme (KSCHS)/BHCPF.

“The SHF although they’ve been accredited as a primary service provider, they are yet to get enrollees for both KSCHS/BHCPF, however they have lived for NHIS.

Earlier, Abubakar Saidu, KADCHMA’s Formal Sector Team Lead, who spoke at a two-day Biannual Review Meeting of Media Working Group, organised by Save the Children International, in Zaria, said 383,513 persons had been enrolled under the formal sector; 4,523 under the informal sector, while 79,239 vulnerable population accessed free healthcare services under the scheme.

According to him, 8,292 were captured under the Tertiary Students Health Insurance Programme and 45,529 under the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).

He said all the enrollees are accessing the Basic Minimum Package of Health Services as defined by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

” The state’s contributory health insurance scheme is designed to provide access to quality, affordable and equitable healthcare services to all residents of the state without financial barriers,” he said.

“The goal is to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) towards improving the poor health indices in the state.”

“KADCHMA began the provision of healthcare services to the enrollees since June 2020, to reduce out of pocket spending on healthcare to the barest minimum.”

“This, in the long run, will reduce poverty arising from catastrophic and impoverishing health spending.”

“Enrollees under the formal public sector make three per cent premium contribution deducted from their salaries,” he said. 

He said that for the informal and organised private sector, the premium contribution for individuals was N10,650 while a household with a maximum of six members paid N57,990 per annum.

He said for the 45,529 enrollees under the BHCPF, every state provides 25 per cent counterpart fund of the total requirements for coverage of the defined population-based on enrolled beneficiaries in the state.

“The NHIS will then provide the complementary 75 per cent from the BHCPF to the state based on the defined benefit package.

“Also, about 80 per cent of the 79,239 vulnerable population and 45,529 enrolled under the BHCPF, were selected from the Social Register of the poor and vulnerable households in the state.

“While the state government expends N10,650 on each of the 79,239 poor population, amounting to N843.89 million annually.

“And N575.9 million was expended on 45,529 poor and vulnerable persons under the BHCPF at N12,650 per person,” he said.

Joseph Jockshan, BHCPF Focal Person, Kaduna State Primary Health Care Development Board, said the BHCPF was established under Section 11 of the National Health Act, 2014.

He said that N152.9 million was disbursed to 254 Primary Healthcare Centres across the state under the healthcare provision fund in the first and second quarter of 2021, adding that each of the benefiting facilities received N601,500.

The State Media Working Group of Save the Children International, planned to take its advocacy to the government and other critical stakeholders in the health sector, to draw attention to the improvement of Primary Health Care facilities, SHF and others in the state. 

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