By Nsan Ndoma-Neji, Calabar
The Cross River State Health Commissioner, Dr. Janet Ekpenyong, on Tuesday in Calabar stated that over 40,000 residents have completed the registration process for the state’s health insurance scheme.
The commissioner stated this during the flag off ceremony of access to healthcare for the formal sector of the state’s health insurance scheme.
The flag off ceremony which was held by the Cross River State Health Insurance Agency, in conjunction with the State Ministry of Health and the Office of the Head of Service, HoS, was held to strategize for better health care service delivery.
Ekpeyong described the flag off as a win-win situation, stressing that this will provide accessible healthcare to the people and also a sustainable means of funding the health sector.
She said, “40,000 people have been registered into the scheme in the state and will receive their cards today.
“It’s a win-win situation for us and that’s why we needed the formal sector buy in; we had already started enrollment seven months ago and ninety days after that they should be able to access care.
“The beauty of it is that it is deducted from source and you need the buy in of civil servants to ensure that there is that sustainable financing that will continously service the health sector.
“This is key because once you are able to achieve this, you no longer need to depend on government funding.”
The health commissioner averred that with the flag-off ceremony, the health sector can just be on its own, with power to hire more hands more when there are gaps in human resource and also ensure that drugs and all the needed consumables, infrastructural development and several other things are in place.
In his remarks, the state’s HoS, Ogbang Okwaji, stated that only a government that has its people at heart can do this.
The HoS commended labour for robustly engaging with his office to ensure the successful takeoff of the scheme.
He said that with the scheme, deductions are being done at source and his office is also working to ensure that workers at the local government level also enroll for the scheme.
He said that there is a key performance indication template in place to reward hardworking officers and tasked managers of the scheme to ensure it is insulated from politics.
Also speaking, the Director General of the state’s Health Insurance Scheme, Godwin Iyala, said that with the flag-off, civil servants in the state will now have access to care.
Iyala maintained that if there is referral, the agency has signed a memorandum of understanding, MoU, with the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital to guarantee service.
The DG lauded the state governor for the successes so far recorded and added that the state’s general hospitals have been fully mobilised for the scheme and promised not to let labour down.