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Health insurance to boost life expectancy, economy: Kwara Gov



Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Friday launched a statewide health insurance scheme for residentof the state, saying the initiative would boost life expectancy and help the economy.


At least 10,000 indigents are covered in the first phase of the insurance that is 100 percent free for the vulnerable while the state works to onboard premium-paying persons in the formal and informal sectors of the economy, AbdulRazaq said.


The 10,000 were captured in a statewide pilot registration of indigents for the scheme in March 2020.


AbdulRazaq said the launch was another major step in his administration’s efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and called on residents to take full advantage of the scheme.


“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 of Owo Isowo to 21,623 petty traders under our social investment programme. The KWASSIP, which also includes safety nets for the aged and vulnerable, seeks to end extreme poverty in our state,” he said.


“The launching today of this health insurance scheme is a direct response of the administration to the goal 3 of the SGDs which is access to good health and well-being. We are starting this scheme by onboarding at least 10,000 indigents as a test run. These indigents have had their premium fully paid. This means the health insurance is 100% free for the indigents. We hope to enrol many more indigents in the coming years.


“I commend our partners for their support and the leadership and staff of the health sector in Kwara State for their hard work. I specifically commend the leadership of the Kwara State Health Insurance Agency for seeing this through. We are also proud as an administration to have made the necessary investments in that regard. 


“Health insurance scheme boosts life expectancy of our people, promotes good health, and ultimately strengthens the economy. It has the potential to prevent families from sudden fall into poverty as a result of unforeseen health crisis. The insurance scheme takes care of basic health issues before they become complicated. Studies have shown that most of the health issues found in secondary and tertiary health institutions arose majorly because they were not tackled on time. 


“I therefore urge people in the formal and informal sectors — who are to pay a token as their own premium —to enrol in the scheme. It is cheap, affordable, accessible, and is supported by carefully selected functional facilities and committed medical experts in the state.”


Executive Secretary of the Kwara State Health Insurance Agency Dr Olubunmi Jetawo-Winter said the launch at a time of global health emergency and dwindling resources underscores the governor’s commitment to offering the people the most basic health services.


“The launch of the scheme today provides one of the most sustainable and long term solutions to addressing our existing and future health challenges. The scheme will make basic healthcare available and accessible to every inhabitant of the state, irrespective of their socioeconomic status,” she said.


“Our Governor has made funding available for the implementation of the scheme covering all activities of the agency. This has helped to provide infrastructure and equipment, and also build capacity of staff needed to drive the scheme.  On the supply side, in revamping our health sector, our Governor has also committed to improving availability of health services by rehabilitating over 100 facilities in communities across the three senatorial districts of the state. This project has commenced and is ongoing. This is truly unprecedented and remarkable at a time like this in the history of the world.”


She commended the First Lady of the state Dr Olufolake AbdulRazaq, the leadership and members of the House of Assembly and cabinet members for their support to push through the scheme. 


She also commended the partner bodies for their contributions, specifically mentioning the Netherlands, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Dutch Embassy in Nigeria, the Dutch Health Insurance Fund, and PharmAccess Foundation in Nigeria and the Netherlands.


Steven Collet, who is the Ambassador Business and Development of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: “Today you have made history in Kwara State by launching the state health insurance scheme that will benefit the people of the state. By launching the scheme, you have shown that the most effective way for Kwara State, and indeed Nigeria, to tackle Coronavirus, other illnesses and future outbreak is to invest in healthcare systems.”


Monique Dolfing Vogelenzang of PharmAccess said the launch shows that the Kwara State Government is taking a lead in healthcare funding at a time of global pandemic, urging citizens to take full advantage of the scheme.


The Governor officially presented ID cards to some of the beneficiaries at the launch which was attended by Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly Yakubu Salihu Danladi; House of Assembly members; cabinet members; and top officials from the Ministry of Health; and representatives of the development partners. 


AbdulRazaq presented ID cards of the scheme to a beneficiary from each of the three senatorial districts: Fatimah Suleiman (Kwara Central); Abdullahi Idris Ahmed (North); and Adekunle Jumoke (South). 


Virtual goodwill messages were given by Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi; Danladi; Mrs AbdulRazaq; House Commitee Chairman on Health Hon. Owolabi Rasaq; and representatives of the Dutch Government, PharmAccess, the Dutch Health Insurance Foundation, among others.


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