Access to health care remains a challenge in Nigeria. This single challenge has escalated high rates of child and maternal mortality and morbidity across the country. Although 14 years ago, the country worked towards improving access in its bid to achieve universal health coverage established the National health insurance, NHIS, sadly, less than 5 percent of Nigerians are covered under the scheme. However, despite the NHIS failure, many states including Lagos, Kwara, amongst others have also established their own state’s health insurance following successes recorded in improved healthcare by most countries of the world. Unlike at the national level, one state that is making a different in health insurance currently is the Oyo State where the citizens are currently enjoying mandatory but affordable health insurance system.
In Oyo, beneficiaries can pay as low as N8, 000 to get enrolled in the scheme. To ensure a successful scheme, Oyo State Health Insurance Agency developed different healthcare plans to cover all categories of residents of the state in order to ensure that they have access to good healthcare services. These plans include: standard plan which is designed with the aim of achieving universal health coverage. It is designed for formal sector, Informal sector, vulnerable group like pregnant women, children under five, prisoners, retirees & aged, communities & rural dwellers. The top-up plan which is for two different categories of standard plus & standard peak are to provide alternatives for the formal sector segment and to generate subsidy for the vulnerable group. HEALTH AGENDA: NMA organizes debate for Lagos governorship candidates The students & tertiary institutions plan is also ages 5-18 and segments of the populace in tertiary institutions.
According to the Executive Secretary, Oyo State Health Insurance Scheme Agency, OYSHIA, Dr Olusola Akande the rationale behinds the government commitment to health insurance in the state was to improve health service utilization as well as provide financial protection against huge medical bills among citizens of the state. The Oyo State Health Insurance was established in 2015 and passed into law November 2016, assented to by Governor Abiola Ajimobi in December, 2016 and flagged off on 25th May, 2017. The scheme was also through legal frame work made mandatory for all residence of the state. Speaking recently during a two day media dialogue organized by United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF in collaboration with the State Ministry of Information, Akande said: “We have lots of testimonies from beneficiaries since the scheme started. It makes patients to see their doctors when nothing is wrong with them and also improve their health seeking behaviour,” he said. Noting that there was a very strong connection between Social Health Insurance and community empowerment, he said over 100,000 people has been enrolled in the mandatory scheme. Stating that the over 10,000 children less than 5 years and pregnant women are on the scheme, he disclosed that 350 vaginal deliveries and 78 Caesarean sessions carried have been carried out under the scheme. “We are upgrading the facilities in the state. Already, Primary Healthcare Centers accredited for the scheme have been fully upgraded to offer best quality healthcare services to the people, he added. He further explained that OYSHIA is being funded with 2 percent consolidated fund from the State’s
Internally Generated Revenue, IGR. Akande said they are also procuring grants, premium, and philanthropy, adding that the scheme has been rated very high in terms of performance. He stated that the agency would not relent in making sure that the people of the state enjoy quality healthcare without spending their last savings on medical bills. Speaking, a UNICEF Health Specialist, Dr. Adebola Hassan said health insurance is very necessary to prevent avoidable death particularly among children. Adebola in a presentation tagged: Leaving No Child Behind”, added that the benefits of health insurance are enormous particularly in attaining UHC