From Esther Akaa, Lafia
The Acting Executive Secretary of Nasarawa State Health Insurance Agency (NASHIA), Dr Simon Istifanus, says the agency is making significant efforts to include travellers in the health insurance scheme to ensure that they receive medical care in the event of an accident or other emergency.
Dr. Istifanus disclosed this at a meeting with journalists on the successes and challenges facing the agency, recently, in Lafia.
According to him, passengers would pay an additional 10% of their transportation ticket for medical services, which would be included in the payment for the transportation fare.
“It is not yet part of our laws but we are working seriously to amend the laws establishing the agency to capture travellers who are not our enrolling to enable them access service in case of any emergency.
“Currently, 188, 300 residents have enrolled in the health insurance scheme and are benefiting from healthcare services from various medical facilities across the state.
“The beneficiaries are registered under different packages such as public sector, informal sector, vulnerable and students, among others,” he said.
Istifanus further said since the inauguration of the programme in 2019, residents who enrolled were benefiting from medical services with little challenges and promised to address the challenges as soon as possible. He therefore called on healthcare providers to be professional in their conduct and provide the desired services in order to increase confidence of the people in the insurance scheme.
The Executive Secretary commended Gov. Abdullahi Sule for the support he has given to the agency to achieve and commended spirited individuals who adopted and paid for people in their communities and called on others to emulate them.
He assured that the agency would continue to strive hard towards achieving universal health coverage.
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Gaza Gwamna commended the agency for the good work they have been doing and the successes recorded so far.
The Commissioner represented by Dr. Damina John, said the state government was committed towards achieving universal health coverage by making health accessible and affordable to all the citizens.
On his part, Director, Health Services of NASHIA , Pharm. Kaki Maikudi lauded the media for giving publicity to the activities of the agency and appealed that they should do more so that the information would get to all residents of the state.
He added that currently, only 6% of the residents of the state were captured into the scheme and expressed optimism that with the collaboration with the media, the enrollment would improve.
The Director appealed to politicians, especially members of the state and national assembly to pay for enrollment fees for the people of their constituencies as part of constituency project.
In his goodwill message, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists ( NUJ), Salihu Mohammed-Alkali, lauded the agency for the engagement and pledged for more partnership.