By Brenda Agba
About forty one thousand, four hundred vulnerable persons across the two hundred and seventy-six council wards of Benue State are to be captured as beneficiaries of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), in the first phase of enrollment.
This was made known by the Executive Secretary, Benue State Health Insurance Agency (BNSHIA), Dr. Kenneth Korve, in a chat with journalists during the enrollment for vulnerable people under the BHCPF programme held recently, at the Primary Health Care Centre, Tyowanye in Buruku Local Government Area.
According to the Executive Secretary, BHCPF is one of the health programmes being keyed into by the Benue State Government through BNSHIA towards providing quality and affordable health care for the people especially the under privileged.
Dr. Korve explained that, apart from the vulnerable groups which include the Aged (eighty five years and above); Widows ; Children (zero to five years); Pregnant women; Chronically ill persons and the Physically challenged who will be receiving free medical treatment, the programme also has provision for other groups who will be required to pay a token. These include Civil servants; Employees of private organisations; Self-employed persons as well as Students of tertiary Institutions.
The Executive Secretary further disclosed that BNSHIA has put in place three teams to conduct the enrollment across the three zones of the state simultaneously as the first phase is expected to be concluded in three months.
Speaking on the issue of inadequate manpower in the Primary Health Care Centres which may hamper the effective delivery of services, the Executive Secretary said the recent approval for employment in the health sector by Governor, Samuel Ortom, will not be a challenge when the programme fully kicks off.
Also speaking, the Benue State Coordinator, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Dr. Christopher Okoh, who led members of his team to monitor the enrollment, assured that his organisation will carry out a validation exercise at the end of the enrollment to ensure that only eligible persons are captured.
In their separate remarks, the Chairman, Buruku Local Government Council, Andrew Iorver, represented by his Special Adviser on Women Affairs, Paul Jime as well as Buruku Local Government Supervisor for Health, Joseph Kyereve, together with the District Head of Shorov, Tyo-Or Benedict Swase who was repesented by the Kindred Head of Mbaakaaza, Zaki Kator Tyongi, all commended the Benue State and Federal Government for putting together the free health care programme saying it will go a long way in improving the lives of the people especially the under privileged.
Reacting to the development, some of the enrollees including Shiliki Ngule and Mgueshima Igbayima both expressed appreciation to the government for the initiative saying it will go a long way in improving the health conditions of the people.