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Avoid Out-of-pocket Health Expenditure, Embrace Health Insurance – Anambra Govt. Urges Residents

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Dr Simeon Onyemaechi, Managing Director, Anambra State Health Insurance Agency, has urged residents to enroll in the scheme to avoid high out-of-pocket health expenditures.

Onyemaechi told newsmen on Friday in Awka that the agency engaged the Anambra Town Announcers to intensify awareness on the benefits of the health insurance scheme.

He said that residents should enroll to save themselves from high out-of-pocket health expenditures that could potentially impoverish them.

He also said that the Gov. Chukwuma Soludo’s administration was committed to attaining universal health coverage in the state.

Onyemaechi said the agency initiated an adoption model where the philanthropists and the wealthy in the society adopt and pay health insurance premium for the less privileged had increased the number of enrollees.

According to him, the model increased the total number of enrollees in the state’s health insurance pool to 183,000 presently.

He said: “Presently, we have no fewer than 183,000 enrollees and the Governor has given us a mandate to increase the number of beneficiaries so that we can attain universal healthcare coverage.

“This is why we are engaging all critical stakeholders, including town announcers, to take the message of health insurance to the nook and crannies of Anambra.

“As town announcers, you can reach the rural communities and villages for better enlightenment and understanding of the health insurance policy in the state.”

He also urged the media, civil society organisations, community leaders, policy makers and influencers to be advocates for health insurance scheme to help the state attain universal health coverage by 2030. (NAN)

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Over 180,000 HIV Patients Accessing Free Life-saving Antiretroviral Treatment in Benue – Gov. Alia

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi 

Benue State Governor, Rev Fr. Hyacinth Alia, on Tuesday, said that over 180,000 people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus(HIV), are accessing life-saving antiretroviral treatment (ART) across 264 public, private, and faith-based health facilities in the 23 local government areas of the state.

He noted that women living with HIV has giving birth to about 8,000 HIV-negative babies annually through the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) program for pregnant-positive women in the state.

 

Governor Alia who disclosed this while commissioning molecular laboratory at the federal medical centre Makurdi, said this was made possible by the support of US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

 

He lamented that the Nigeria AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS), 2018, shown Benue State has an HIV prevalence of 4.3%, the second-highest in Nigeria thereby placing Benue on the path to HIV epidemic control.

The Governor noted that in the past two decades, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC), Nigeria has supported the Benue state government with funding from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through APIN Public Health Initiatives and other implementing partners to respond to the HIV epidemic. 

According to him, “the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) program for pregnant-positive women in the state has made it possible for the birth of about 8,000 HIV-negative babies annually by women living with HIV providing a window of hope for an HIV-free generation. 

“This strong partnership between the government and PEPFAR has turned the tide against the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the state. HIV/AIDS which was before now a major cause of death with significant socioeconomic impacts in communities has been transformed into a managed chronic disease with Benue at the threshold of meeting the global target of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030. 

“The program deployed and installed information technology equipment to capacitate 65 high-volume treatment sites, 22 supported community-based organizations, the state Ministry of Health, and the State Agency for HIV/AIDS Control to participate in weekly telemedicine/teleconferencing led by the Federal Ministry of Health to improve the skills of healthcare providers to manage a range of chronic medical conditions including HIV/AIDS”, the Governor stated.

Governor Alia commended APIN Public Health Initiatives, US CDC, PEPFAR and all partners involved in bringing this project to fruition and appreciated the past and present leadership of the Federal Medical Center, Makurdi for providing the infrastructure for the placement of molecular laboratory equipment. 

He assured that his administration remain committed to leaving no one behind in the pursuit of health equity and justice and would continuously harness the power of science, innovation and compassion to build a brighter tomorrow for generations to come. 

Governor Alia further reiterated his government’s commitment to sustaining the HIV response in the state through the financing of the HIV response, public health infrastructural development and support for PLWHIV, Children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV and other vulnerable populations for improved quality of life.

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Radda Releases N10bn to 34 LGAs for Health Centres

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Katsina State Governor, Dikko Radda has released over N10 billion to chairmen of the 34 local government areas of the state to build primary health centres.

The governor said this during an interactive session with journalists on Monday in Katsina, saying that three primary health centres would be constructed in each council area.

He added that “when I became the governor, I talked about the World Health Organisation’s resolution on the need to have functional primary health centres in rural areas that can work 24 hours.

“The aim is to reduce child and maternal mortality and other difficulties faced by rural people whenever they are sick.

“If we have functional healthcare facilities in rural areas, even a woman in labour can be attended to by a professional health worker at any time.

“And if there is a need to take her to a secondary healthcare facility, the centre should have an ambulance that can convey her there.”

According to him, there should also be accommodation for health workers, enough drugs, constant/potable water, and electricity supply, among others.

Radda revealed that the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) would provide those institutions with running costs, from N250,000 to N400,000.

“This fund is enough for the running of daily activities of the centres. But we cannot benefit from the fund until we have fully functional healthcare centres.

“If we have functional primary health centres in rural areas, it will assist in decongesting hospitals in urban areas, and the health level of the people will improve.

“The only challenge we are going to face is staffing, because we have shortages of staff to man these centres. To recruit health workers is not easy now, but we will do that in due course.

“However, we have over 5,000 casual staff and if we were to confirm them, their salaries would double that of the over 7,000 teachers recently recruited.

“This is because the salary of some health workers is almost triple that of teachers.

“That’s the challenge now, but in spite of that, we will recruit health workers in due course.

“Before the end of the year, we’ll make sure that no fewer than 361 functional primary health care centres are provided in the state.”

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FCTA Begins Free Antenatal Registration, Care for Pregnant Women

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By Laide Akinboade, Abuja

In continuation of the one year anniversary celebration of President Bola Tinubu, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), on Monday, unveiled one year free health insurance, antenatal care for pregnant Women.

This initiative was unveiled by the Mandate Secretary, FCTA’s Health Services and Environment Secretariat, Dr Adedolapo Fasawe when she visited the Paramount Ruler, the Gomo of Kuje, Alhaji Haruna Jibrin.

Fasawe disclosed that the initiative, coming as Renewed Hope Free Medical Outreach, was designed for the poorest of the poor in rural communities.

The Mandate Secretary, who was in the Palace of the Paramount Ruler and the Council’s Secretariat to sensitize the people for the outreach billed for Wednesday, warned that privileged people shouldn’t hijack the outreach, but allow the vulnerable residents to benefit from the initiative.

She noted that besides giving pregnant women one year insurance, there will also be free eye, dental and other health services, while also providing minor surgery for the people.

Fasawe also warned that the administration would not allow advantaged people to hijack the free services, saying it is exclusively for the less privileged people.

She said, “We are going to be giving free medical care, eye care, minor surgery and dental care.

“Pregnant women and the children will get free insurance for one year. Let not the privileged people deny the less privileged people.

“Let those who can afford the care allow the poor to get free care. We don’t want chairman’s candidates, we want the poorest of the poor. Register all pregnant women for free antenatal”.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary of the Secretariat, Dr Babagana Adams has called on the council officials to mobilize the people who need the services to come out in mass.

Adams, also did not caution that there should not be ethnic nor religious discrimination as the initiative was designed to serve all.

Earlier in his remarks, the Gomo of Kuje, Alhaji Haruna Jibrin, while lauding the initiative also pledged to support the outreach.

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