… Targets 8000 beneficiaries in council areas
Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA) has flagged off “Operation Healthy Ayamelum phase 1” in Ifite’Ogwari Community. The program is targeted at enrolling eight thousand pregnant women, women of childbearing age, and the elderly from the eight communities of the council area into the health insurance scheme.
Declaring the event open during the weekend, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Afam Obidike who stated the readiness of the government in implementing Universal Health Coverage for all said that Prof. Charles Soludo’s administration understands the peculiar health system challenge in the local government and promises that in a few months from now, the Primary Health Centres in the communities will be fully operational. “It’s disheartening that women in this area die of childbirth complications that could have been easily resolved.
In the next four to six months, we are going to fix the PHC’s to attend to the primary needs of the locals before going to the secondary system which ais St Joseph Catholic Hospital Ifite Ogwari. “Mr. Governor is serious about ensuring universal health coverage for all Ndi Anambra and this policy starts from functional Primary Health Centres and we are committed to that “, the Commissioner reiterated. Dr. Obidike thanked the initiators of the project, Dr. Chima Onuekwe and Rev. Fr. Basil Ekwunife for magnanimously giving their people access to free medical care.
For the Executive Secretary of ASHIA, Dr. Simeon Onyemaechi , the program was unique in the sense that the beneficiaries will access quality health care completely free of charge. “After paying ASHIA annual premium the beneficiary is expected to pay only 10 percent of the charges incurred in the hospital but Fr. Basil Ekwunife who is an illustrious son of the community has also taken care of that, so the health care is now 100 % free.” On his part, Dr. Chima Onuekwe who is the initiator of the project was optimistic that the program will eliminate the health challenges being faced by Ayamelum Community.
He stated that the premium will be for one year after which the sponsors and partners will review the value added as well as the utilization rate but hopefully there will be an extension. “It is the first phase and we are prioritizing the population but the target is to register 1000 persons per community.
“If somebody paid 12000 for you to access quality health services, I think you should take the opportunity but we have to review the utilization rate and see possible ways for renewal with our sponsors.” Dr. Onuekwe pleaded with the beneficiaries to utilize the scheme and access quality health care as defaulters will be replaced with willing persons. Rev.Fr. Basil Ekwunife, the manager of St. Joseph Catholic Hospital Ifite Ogwari, noted that it was the best to give quality health care to the people because according to him, the community is made up mainly of agrarian people.
The management of the hospital will bear the 10% charges expected of the beneficiary so that health care delivery will be completely free. The beneficiaries and other community leaders including former local government chairman, Hon. Udoji Amedu expressed delight to the initiator, St Joseph Catholic Hospital, and the State Government. Mrs. Maureen Elo Gwacham, and Dr. Obiora Chira candidates of APGA and Labour Party respectively for Oyi /Ayamelum Federal Constituency enrolled One Hundred people each into the scheme.