From Judex Okoro, Calabar
In its commitment to providing affordable and accessible healthcare for Cross Riverians, Governor Ben Ayade has inaugurated Ayadecare Insurance scheme with about two million persons expected to enrol into the policy in the next two
The Agency, set up by Law N0.10 of 2016, is responsible for providing basic healthcare for residents of the state and about two million persons are expected to enrol into the program in the next two years.
Speaking at the UJ Esuene Stadium Calabar during the inauguration, Ayade warned that the funds should not be linked to government but be utilised purely as humanitarian, Ayade said any government aides, staff and managers of the newly launched Ayadecare Insurance Scheme who will mismanage enrollment funds for the scheme would face the wrath of the people.
He explained that the scheme is designed to provide quality, affordable and accessible healthcare for minors from ages 0-5, pregnant women, the aged, internally displaced persons, destitutes, as well as the mentally challenged persons who fall under the vulnerable category free of charge.
He added that the in-vulnerable are to make a monthly commitment of One thousand Naira (N1,000) only, totaling N12,000 in a calendar year to enroll and access quality healthcare.
The civil and public servants will see the monthly deduction of N1,000 at source to a dedicated account which will be used for capitation to the primary, secondary and tertiary health institutions to enable them access healthcare all year round with little hassle.
On the management of the funds, Ayade said: ” I don’t want to have anything to do with the funds either by way of approving or accountability. Rather a private person, preferably an elderly religious person even outside of the state may be saddle with the task of superintending over the funds.
“I distance myself from this fund. It is a fund which touches the heart of God. Therefore, woe betides anyone that will tamper with it. I say may Holy Ghost fire burn and consume such persons.”
He donated the sum of N20 million from his private sources for people of the 18 LGAs to boost the health insurance scheme, assuring that he will provide all the supports and political will to ensure sustenance of the scheme.
Speaking earlier, executive secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof Mohammed Nasir Sambo, commended the state for meeting the conditions of the Universal Health Coverage and National Health Act.
He stressed that the Universal Health Coverage is a top priority on the government and global health agenda.
Director general of the state Prinary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Janet Ekpenyong, said the efforts have been made to ensure that people in the rural areas are all enrolled to benefit from the free Medicare.
Also speaking, the Director-General of the Cross River State Health Insurance Agency, Sir Godwin Iyala, stated that the program would address healthcare challenges in the state.
He added that the program is created to provide staple functionality of medical insurance cover through minimal premium commitment that puts money back into the patient’s pocket, considering the minimal cost on the part of the patient.