Life expectancy has significantly improved in Anambra since the inauguration of the State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA) by Governor Willie Obiano about two years ago and the record-breaking innovations introduced by the scheme to capture more people especially from the informal sector.
According to him, the introduction of the scheme and the innovation to engage wealthy citizens to buy health premium for the indigent ones, had ensured that those who ordinarily would have died as a result of lack of funds to access medical care, are saved.
“Health experts have revealed that the attainment of UN declaration of universal health coverage by 2030 could only be achieved through the establishment of and access to health insurance schemes. The acknowledgement of the role of such Health Insurance Schemes, is because the world over, there has been the challenge of health financing. Here in Anambra, ASHIA is one of the key legacies of the Obiano administration. We all know that health is wealth. What Obiano has done is to give us access to affordable and quality healthcare. Healthcare financing is key in achieving comprehensive wellness of any society and Governor Obiano has provided enough funds.
“Through the establishment of this scheme, Governor Obiano has improved the life expectancy of Ndi Anambra because lack of access to quality and affordable healthcare services makes the people vulnerable to a preventable death, consequently reducing the life expectancy. Today, once you enrol with 12,000 naira for one year and access services from any of the over 200 accredited healthcare facilities across the 21 local government areas in the state,” he said.
Onyemaechi recalled that upon inception, the state government had set aside the sum of #200 million for the official take-off of the scheme, adding that so far, the initiative is gathering the desired momentum.
In his words; “We do not owe any of the ASHIA- accredited hospitals. We pay them their capitation on or before 14th of every month, while they get their fee-for-service on or before 25th of every new month – best in Nigeria. There’s no hospital or healthcare provider in Anambra that treats our enrollees with disdain because we have a mechanism for checking them. Once an ASHIA enrollee calls the number on the reverse side of the ID card, our staff will swing into action immediately and resolve the issue. Only what we do not get to be informed of by our enrollees, pass without punishment.”
The ASHIA boss spoke on the adoption model initiated by the Agency, which has been adjudged by health experts as the most effective way of capturing people in the informal sector in the scheme.
He revealed that as at today, ASHIA has registered over 90,000 enrollees with over 30,000 of the figure, representing people from the informal sector.
“When we started, we made a major observation. We discovered that while it was easy for civil servants and others in the formal sector to enrol, the bulk of the population who are in the informal sector were very difficult to get. These include businessmen, farmers, artisans, among many others. We then evolved the adoption model which aimed at capturing people of the informal sector into the health insurance pool. Under this initiative, the wealthy pay for their relatives and friends who are not well-off financially. And we have recorded quite a number of buy-ins into that initiative,” he revealed.