Ebiakofa Espouses Benefits Of Health Insurance, Urges Informal Sector To Leverage On Opportunity



By Patrick Ochei


The Acting Director General of the Delta State Contributory Health Commission, Dr Ebiakofa Alfred has explained the enormous benefits of health insurance to every home in Delta State, adding that apart from the public sector, the informal sector should leverage on the opportunity provided by the Scheme to participate actively.


He gave this explanation in a media session with a select journalists in the State, where he reeled out what an individual stands to benefit as a contributor to the health insurance scheme.


Dr Ebiakofa who was formally the Director of Health Services in the Commission before being elevated to act as DG, gave instances where the scheme had helped individuals to access quick, adequate and affordable medical services without deflating their savings or hampering their projects.


As a helmsman who is desirous of effecting positive changes in the Commission, Dr Ebiakofa is not satisfied that the health coverage for those in the formal sector currently stands at 170,000 while the informal sector remains 20,000 enrollees.


He feigned the desire to hit about six million enrollees in order to target a vast majority of the state’s population in the health plan, arguing that such would help to booster the economic plan of the State for optimal health development.


According to Ebiakofa, “We are trying to consolidate and make inroads into the huge informal sector population. We don’t want to base our success judging from the equity health plan which stands at 1.2 million enrollees that get benefits and exit until another opportunity beckons.


“Health Insurance is about the pool; it helps to measure effective coverage of health plan. Delta State for example has the cheapest premium in the country, which is #7000 annually for those in the informal sector. Once this premium is paid, it covers all medical bills of the patient from hospital card, consultation fee, basic lab tests, treatment and even surgery in some cases, both at the public and private hospitals.


“This is a programme we don’t joke about, because of the value attached to the life of Deltans. And that’s why we pay capitation to registered hospitals; and this money is paid upfront to enable the hospitals develop to manage medical cases arising from the health insurance scheme. We just want to build on a universal health coverage where no one is left behind in terms of getting access to affordable healthcare services”, Dr Ebiakofa explained.


However, not ignorant of some sharp practices that often characterise the health insurance scheme like dispensing of substandard drugs and attitude of health practitioners to healthcare service seeking individuals, Dr Ebiakofa revealed that the Commission has well defined mechanism to deal with such.


In the area of fake and substandard drugs, he acknowledged the effective role of NAFDAC in handling such cases. However, he affirmed that the economic value of a drug is equally determined by the environment where such drug is produced and not necessarily that price determines superiority or efficacy of any brand of drug.


In a nutshell, as a way of being proactive in engaging the informal sector to enroll adequately into the health insurance scheme, Dr Ebiakofa has conceptualised a workable idea, provided that all hands must be on deck to realise the vision.


He said the vision is, “To celebrate our Governor’s 100th Day in office, we in DSCHC aim for 100,000 new informal sector enrollees in the Delta State CONTRIBUTORY HEALTH SCHEME which will enable them to say goodbye to extravagant hospital bills. For just 7000 Naira premium per year, they can experience affordable healthcare!


“We are calling on all public-spirited individuals, religious bodies, philanthropists, Traditional Rulers, Honourable Members, and well-meaning residents of Delta State to join our campaign by sponsoring at least 100 persons in their locality.

Omamuzo Efidhere

Omamuzo Efidhere is a registered member of the Nigerian Union of Journalist


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