The ambitious health insurance package in Cross River State dubbed Ayadecare is going up in flames as local government workers in the state are no longer keen of funding the health deal.
The seeming dramatic about turn, is running counter to the claim by the state government that the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) gladly accepted of the state’s Health Insurance Scheme.
But the state council of NULGE is currently vowing to resist any form of deduction from their members’ monthly wages.
The Governor Ben Ayade administration had launched the health scheme early this 2018 with a minimum premium of N1,000 to be paid monthly. But, NULGE President in the state, Godwin Ayendi, says the planned three percent deduction from civil servants in the state for the health insurance scheme will be resisted by his union.
‘’We now hear that civil servants including NULGE are to contribute three percent of our salaries for the health insurance scheme. As a union, we find that very unacceptable. Any scheme that is designed for us requires our contributions. We have not had any dialogue with those running the scheme.
‘’There is no invitation to NULGE, we now hear that Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) was invited for a buy-in and was told that we would contribute three percent. Without hearing it on radio and reading it on social media, we have not heard from them.
‘’We don’t know or understand the dynamics of operation of this scheme, we would resist any attempt to deduct our monies for that purpose’’, the NULGE chief said.
Ayendi however, commended the initiative, noting that to design a health insurance scheme for this part of the world is revolutionary. ‘’It is commendable, you will realize that Nigeria is operating without adequate provision for healthcare for the masses; that Governor Ayade has come with a health insurance scheme is commendable.
‘’NULGE under my leadership will want to collaborate with the governor to access timely and affordable healthcare especially during this economic crisis, our thinking is that effective health insurance scheme requires professionals and drugs should be available always, a situation that needs attention now, but our union is worried that the scheme has gone far, gone far in quote.’’
Ayadecare is however, expected to make around N1.00 billion monthly. Governor Ayade had signed into law the free health insurance scheme specifically targeting the less privileged in the state as a scheme “is a brother lending a hand to another brother with all of us standing for all of us, a policy for the people”.
Director General of the state’s Primary Health Care, Dr. Betta Edu says the target from all the sources is that every month at least ‘’we should make N1.00 billion health care payment, the premium from people, international donor agencies and even gifts from individuals and philanthropic organisations. The day the law was signed we were able to raise N50 million.’’
According to her, the N1, 000, which everybody was paying will not be able to provide that level of healthcare government was thinking about as “government will equally be investing money into the healthcare insurance to make it work.
‘’Donor agencies, the World Bank will equally be expected to put in some financing to make it work. It is going to be collaboration between lots of stakeholders; and as such transparency, accountability remains the watchword. The World Bank will not want to put their money into an insurance that is a fraud and they have criteria that this insurance must go through and fit in.’’
While launching the scheme, Ayade had said the welfare of the people was the purpose of his governance, as he demanded full support from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the Federal Government.
“Let me use this occasion to commend the children of Cross River as we are here to celebrate you. The Section 16 of the Constitution states that the welfare of the people is the purpose of governance. For the NHIS, I’d like you to go back with the message that the people of Cross River are very committed. I urged the federal government to invest hugely in this insurance programme.
‘’I want the children out there to have access to health care, and please take this message to Mr. President and tell him that the people of Cross River State are fully in support of him that he should come down and support us. We are not doing this for politics, that’s why we decided to choose the Children’s Day (May 27).
Meanwhile, each of the senator representing the state is to register 500 persons in his/her constituency. Members of the House of Representatives are to similarly register 500 children per constituency while members of the state House of Assembly are to enrol 500 children too.
Governor Ayade had pledged that the state government will put a total sum of N200 million while he and his wife will put the sum of N50 million.