Niger sets aside equity fund for vulnerable groups, launches NICare

From Rashidat AbdulRahman, Minna

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello says his administration has set aside equity fund of 1 percent of its consolidated revenue in 2022 budget appropriation to take care of vulnerable groups, who may otherwise be unable to pay for their healthcare needs.

The governor stated this at the Niger State Contributory Health Agency (NICare) official launching of the state contributory health scheme and access to healthcare service at the NICare premises Block ‘A” Old Secretariat Complex, Minna on Wednesday.

Governor Bello explained that the state government is committed in reducing high cost spending towards finding adequate healthcare, stressing that it will continue the payment of the 25 percent counterpart fund for sustaining access to the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.

“I also wish to encourage political leaders, well to do individuals in the state to support the enrollment process of the less privileged in our society as the 1 percent consolidated revenue set aside by the government for programmes may not be enough,” be stated.

The governor said the state took interest in introducing NICare to protect families and households from catastrophic out-of-pocket expenditures in seeking the much needed healthcare services.

“Niger state contributory health scheme was conceptualized as a vehicle for ensuring that all residents of the state, irrespective of their socio-economic status, enjoy access to quality healthcare services without suffering undue financial hardship,” he added.

The state Commissioner for Health, Mohammed Mohammed Makusidi stated that the flag-off is aimed at sensitizing stakeholders on the operations of the scheme which include continuous public awareness, enrollment and distribution of enrollees to health facilities, engagement of healthcare providers and third party agents.

Executive Secretary, NICare, Mohammed Usman said that residents can enroll into the scheme as informal sector beneficiaries on payment of N7,200 per annum per head, while formal sector beneficiaries will contribute N3,600 per employee per month to cover a family of six persons.

He also stated that high maternity and child mortality among others were the reasons for the scheme in the state.

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