The recently launched Kano State Contributory Healthcare Scheme’s objectives are to protect families from the financial hardship associated with huge medical bills, limit inflationary rise in the cost of healthcare services; as well as ensuring equitable distribution of healthcare costs across different income groups, amongst others.
Achieving Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC) has no doubt remained a mirage for many developing countries including Nigeria. Although the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has been in existence since 1999, the scheme has not achieved much in terms of ensuring access to quality and affordable healthcare for all Nigerians.
Till date less than 5% of Nigerians are covered by the scheme, most of them civil servants who had been compulsorily enrolled in the NHIS. Although it boasts an array of programme targeting different classes of people across both the formal and informal sectors economy, these programmes have remained largely unimplemented. Achieving UHC is no doubt a herculean task, one that requires innovative and sustainable healthcare financing models.
Hence in its bid to ensure access to healthcare for millions of its citizens, the Kano State Government decided to domesticate the NHIS in the form of the Kano State Contributory Healthcare Scheme (KSCHS) as well as the Kano State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency (KSCHMA), a body shouldered with the responsibility of promoting, regulating, supervising and ensuring the effective administration of the healthcare scheme.
Amongst others the objectives of the scheme are to protect families from the financial hardship of huge medical bills, limit inflationary rise in the cost of healthcare services; ensure equitable distribution of healthcare costs across different income groups and maintenance of high standard of healthcare delivery services in the state.
While speaking at the launch of access to care for the enrollees of the Kano State Contributory Healthcare Scheme (KSCHS) recently, the Executive Governor of Kano State, His Excellency Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje said although even the Federal Government was having difficulties with the implementation of the NHIS they were determined to ensure the KSCHS succeeded.
“We are determined to ensure the contributory healthcare scheme succeeds. This is even as we are aware of the difficulties the Federal Government is facing with the implementation of their own program. We will protect the interest of our civil servants by ensuring that the funds are protected. Later, we hope to expand it to cover those in the private sector and also take it to our communities, to ensure access to healthcare for all,” said Governor Ganduje.
In his keynote address read at the launch event, the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Professor Usman Yusuf described the launch of the KSCHS as a “historic” and commended the Kano State Government adding that the launch marked the beginning of the government’s adoption of a “collective approach to financing healthcare for its residents towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).”
“There is a direct link between access to healthcare and ending poverty, as the Federal Government and the states face financial constraints occasioned by dwindling revenues, the need for adopting efficient and transparent means of healthcare financing becomes urgent. The upsurge in demand for healthcare services puts pressure on the financial capacity of governments and with dire implication on access, service quality and financial risk protection,” said Professor Yusuf.
He commended Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje for establishing the scheme which he said would bring governance and decision-making closer to the people and urged other states in Nigeria to also do same.
In his remarks, Prof Isaac Adewole, the Honorable Minister of Health and Special Guest of Honor at the event, described Governor Ganduje as a “first among equals” urging other governors to emulate his “laudable achievements” in the heath sector.
“Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is a first among equals; other state governors need to emulate you, sir. Whereas other state governors are calling me to help them, the message from Kano has always been come and see what we are doing. I therefore wish to congratulate Your Excellency for all this laudable achievements,” Prof Adewole told Governor Ganduje.
In his goodwill message, the Emir of Kano, His Highness Malam Muhammad Sanusi II, a champion of women and child health, thanked the Governor Ganduje administration for prioritizing health adding that the KSCHS would help in addressing basic healthcare challenges in Kano state.
“The programme will help address healthcare challenges in Kano state by reducing hardship among the poor including out-of-pocket expenses. The Kano State Contributory Healthcare Scheme (KSCHS) which was designed in accordance with the teachings of the Shariah will ensure access to healthcare for all. We thank the government for prioritizing health; health and education are the backbone of development,” said Emir Sanusi II
The Emir urged Kano citizens not to allow the responsibility of delivering healthcare to the people in the hands of the government alone, adding that everyone had the responsibility of making contribution to funding healthcare including training of healthcare workers, building of hospitals as well as funding medical expenses for the poor.
In a similar goodwill message, the National Team Leader of the DFID-funded Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Programme (MNCH2) which had supported the process of developing the KSCHS, Dr Jabu Nyenwa, acknowledged that a considerable improvement in healthcare delivery had been achieved in Kano by MNCH2 which he said wouldn’t have been possible without the government’s support.
“MNCH2 aligns itself with the Kano State Government’s priorities; the Kano State Contributory Healthcare Scheme (KSCHS) is quite commendable. It is quite a major achievement, I therefore congratulate the Governor. We now need to put up structures that will ensure these funds are accounted for. MNCH2 is available to provide technical assistance to ensure the effective implementation of the scheme,” said Dr Nyenwa.
Dr Nyenwa added that to make the contributory healthcare scheme meet the expectation of the people of Kano state there was need to ensure the scheme’s funds contributed to improving health indices not only in Kano but across northern Nigeria towards achieving Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria.
Amongst others, enrollees of the scheme will benefit from consultation with medical specialists that include physicians, pediatricians, obstetricians, gynecologists, general surgeons and orthopedic surgeons. Others are ENT surgeons, dental surgeons radiologists, psychiatrists, ophthalmologists, physiotherapists as well as maternity (ante-natal, delivery and post-natal) care for four pregnancies that results in live births and preventive care like immunization.
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