Sokoto State Government and collaborating agencies on contributory health insurance scheme have solicited for media support on public awareness toward ensuring the success of the scheme.
Alhaji Aminu Umar and Dr Ali Inname, the Director General and Special Adviser to Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State on Contributory Health Management Agency (SOCHEMA),
separately made the call at a training workshop for journalists on Thursday in Sokoto.
The event tagged “Media and Communication Healthcare Financing Training” was facilitated by USAID, Sokoto State Government, SOCHEMA and Health Financing and Governance, a Non Governmental Organization.
The Director General of SOCHEMA, Alhaji Aminu Umar, underscored the importance of media in creating awareness on government intention aimed at enhancing public health.
He said the bill for establishment of the scheme had been passed by the state’s Assembly and was awaiting the governors ascent, when forwarded.
Umar said SOCHEMA, established in 2016 by the present administration, was the operator of the scheme and all requirements were complied with, including inter-advisory committee for traditional, religious leaders led by Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III.
He said others were conducting public hearings, pronouncement of financial sources and guidelines, operational manuals, beneficial packages and price lists for drugs and services.
Inname then explained that the scheme was mandatory for all people in formal and non-formal sector of the state, stressing that it differed from Federal Government Health Insurance Scheme because it was rooted on Islamic principles and community welfare assistant components.
According to him, it is conceived in recognition of the people’s inability to afford medical treatments at a time and aimed to produce long term saving framework and outsourcing health financing.
Speaking on Health Financing Challenges, Mainasa Bello, from Health Financing and Governance, explained that there was need to address the wide gap in healthcare delivery in the country.
Bello said the effort was to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC) which provided access to health services needed without suffering from financial hardships, irrespective of socio economic status.
He described health contributory and health insurance schemes as mechanism for ensuring prudence and transparency on protection of money enshrined for health activities for both formal and informal sectors.
Another Resource person, Mr Somto Mbelu, emphasised that providing health services should be viewed as the right of citizens, stressing that health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely absence of disease or fraternity.
Both Bello and Mbelu also appealed for increased media engagements on anchoring and promotion of the scheme aimed at providing good health facilities, public access to affordable and wide health care services and improved health financing.