Fubara launches Rivers contributory health insurance programme

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From Chris Eze, Port Harcourt

After three years of signing into law the Rivers State Contributory Health Insurance Protection Programme, Governor Siminalayi Fubara on Monday officially launched the programme and enrolled in the scheme.

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Speaking at the occasion which held at the Ndoni Primary Healthcare Center in Ogba/Egbema Ndoni Local Government Area, Governor Fubara said that the State’s Contributory Health Insurance Scheme will offer households a measure of financial protection against healthcare costs and help resolve inequality in the provision of available services.

The Governor, therefore, charged managers of the scheme to be unbiased while administering the scheme so that the most vulnerable in the society are not deprived from accessing critically healthcare services.

The Governor, who became the first to be enrolled on the scheme and followed by his Deputy, Prof Ngozi Odu, said the scheme must foster an inclusive and equitable healthcare access for the people of the State.

According to him, “With what I am seeing here, we didn’t make any mistake in ensuring that the Health Insurance Programme commenced in our State. It is to increase access to healthcare for the people.

“With this, most families that cannot afford expensive healthcare services outside their means, can leverage on this service that has been rolled out.

“But it is proper for me to also add that while we are doing this, we shouldn’t undermine the scheme. The services should be properly utilised and the funds released should be applied prudently to achieve the purpose,” he said.

On her part, the Acting Executive Secretary of the Rivers State Contributory Health Insurance Protection Programme, Dr Vetty Agala, said the scheme will enhance chances of achieving universal access to healthcare services in the State.

Dr Agala explained that with the official flag-off done, her team will embark on a round of enrollment of persons unto the scheme in all 319 political wards in the 23 local government areas of the State.

“Today, we are here to flag-off the enrollment of the scheme. Your Excellency, we want to thank you for graciously permitting and approving that Rivers State Contributory Health Insurance Scheme be implemented.

“Rivers people can now, indeed, access healthcare without having to pay at the point of service. At all of our programmes, women, people living with disability, the aged and children under five years can walk into this centre or where they are registered, show their cards and be attended to free of charge,” she added.

Highpoints of the launch were the registration of the Governor and his Deputy, fingerprinting and capturing of both, and presentation of Insurance Identity Cards to the Number One and Number Two Citizens of the State.

It was learnt that shortly after the Governor’s enrollment, over 200 persons were also enrolled at the primary health centre in Ndoni on same day of launch of the programme.

It would be recalled that the Rivers State Contributory Health Protection Programme Bill was signed into law on June 21, 2021, but was never implemented until Governor Fubara reactivated the programme to enable residents and people of the State who want health insurance to participate in the scheme.

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