Bayelsa flags off basic health enrolment fund for 107 health centres

Bayelsa State government through the state- owned Bayelsa Health Insurance Scheme (BHIS), has commenced enrollment of beneficiaries into the Federal Government funded Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) for 107 health centres across the 105 wards in the state.

Speaking at the  inauguration of the programme tagged, “implementation and registration of eligible enrollees into the Basic Health Care provision fund”, Bayelsa State Commissioner for Health, Dr Pabara Newton-Igwele, represented by the permanent secretary  in  the ministry, Dr Wisdom Sawyer, said the aim was to achieve the universal basic health coverage across communities of the state.

He  said that it was long overdue that the government started benefiting from the Federal Government funded scheme, saying that the programme was part of the government’s efforts to strengthen the primary health care system and provide emergency medical treatment to every  Bayelsa people  both in the formal and informal sector.

He said, “this programme has been flagged-off in Yenagoa Local Government Area, but we’ll take it to all the 107 health centres and 105 wards of the state. It is for children under the age of five, pregnant women, elderly and the vulnerable in the society.

“No person employed by the government or who is working in the informal sector is entitled to benefit from this fund”.

Also speaking, chairman of BHIS, Professor Onyaye Kunle-Olowo, cautioned against infiltration of the scheme by those in government payroll, saying that enrollees’ register would be subjected to constant verification and update to ensure that the fund gets to all those who truly deserve it.

She noted that the state health insurance scheme has also commenced the registration of beneficiaries in the informal sector, saying that the scheme over time, would attain a universal basic health coverage for all residents of the state.

“We commend the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), for their partnership.

“This fund has been released to the state government and this take-off programme of the fund is a signal that we have commenced the deployment as well as utilisation of the fund for the right beneficiaries and purposes.

“It is for children under five years of age, pregnant women, elderly and others who can not afford their health bills. But not for those who can afford these bills,” she added.

While commending the executive arm of  the  government for deploying the fund for the right purpose, the chairman, House Committee  on Health,  state House of Assembly, Honourable Oyinke Godbless, urged the BHIS to do more for the informal sector.

He noted that over 70 per cent of Bayelsa people in the formal sector have been captured and are enjoying the BHIS, but that the informal sector is yet to enjoy the benefits of the scheme.

He said, “in whatever way you think the  Assembly should support you to achieve this, let us know. If it is through amendment or expunging some sections of the act to make the BHIS flexible, please, don’t hesitate to let us know.”

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