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Over 350 Stakeholders trained on Health Insurance in Cross River State

By Frankie Ifop, Calabar

About three hundred and fifty Stakeholders from the public and private sectors has been trained in a week long orientation workshop on the concept of Health Insurance Scheme and Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

The training, conducted by the Cross River State Health Insurance Agency in collaboration with USAID/Health Finance and Governance (HFG) was part of the Cross River State Government action planned programme for the successful progress of the Cross River State Health Insurance Scheme (CRSHIS), christened AyadeCare.

The training which took place in batches, held at Ogoja, Ikom and Calabar respectively.

Speaking, the Chief of Party of USAID Health Finance and Governance Project Nigeria, Dr. Garfa Alawode, affirmed the determination of HFG to help accelerate Nigeria’s pursuit to attain Universal Health Coverage(UHC).

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The Chief of Party who was represented by Mr Ibiam Azu, commended Governor Ben Ayade’s foresight and commitment that saw the take off of the Cross River State Health Insurance Scheme and expressed confidence in the calibre of the Agency’s Leadership who are set to drive the scheme successfully.

Outlining the objectives of the training, the S.A to the Governor on Insurance and CEO, Cross River State Health Insurance Agency, Chief Godwin Iyala said that “the workshop seeks to deepen participants’ understanding on the concept of the Health Insurance Scheme and Universal Health Coverage (UHC), know their roles as stakeholders, acquire knowledge on the key operational elements of the Cross River State Health Insurance Scheme and have a deep understanding of service level agreements and key performance indicators of the CRSHIS.”

Presenting a paper on the concept of UHC Health Finance and Governance, State Coordinator, Ibiam Azu highlighted Health Insurance as a vehicle for making progress towards Universal Health Coverage.

In a remark, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Barr RoseMary Archibong called on the participants to support Governor Ben Ayade’s commitment to the well being of every resident in Cross River State by playing their part of enrolling and mobilising those around them to do so.

The commissioner who was represented by the State Director of Orientation, Mrs Roseline Irek charged the stakeholders to maintain the natural instincts of a true Cross Riverian by presenting a shoulder for one another to lean on.

Co-presenting with Chief Iyala on an overview on the National and State Health Insurance Schemes, Barr. Segun Madamori outlined the short comings of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the NHIS experience with a call for the Cross River State Health Insurance Agency to leverage on it’s successes and challenges.

In her remarks, the DG, Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Betta Edu reminded participants that as stakeholders of the Scheme, everyone would necessarily share the risks and benefits of the Scheme and therefore called for change of attitude by all.

Expressing concern over the manpower position of PHC Centres in the State, the State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade John Ushie called for deployment of staff to areas of need and the release of N250m seed fund promised by the State Government before deduction could be made from Civil servants’ salaries.

Presentations at the training sessions included Operationalising the CRSHIS by the Director Operations, Dr. Aya, Pharm. Khalid Kasimu and Dr. Sylvester Akande of USAID/HFG; Enrollment procedures by the Director, ICT, Mr. Joseph Omie, monitoring and evaluation of CRSHIS by the Director, M&E, Mr. Linus Bisong, Contractual Agreement, by the Director, Legal, Barr. Amajama and Director Accounts, Mr. Egbe.

Highpoint of the trainings were declaration of commitment by all PHC coordinators at each training location, concerns raised about sustainability which were addressed by Dr. Sylvester Akande, CEO of the Agency and the Director of Operations, Dr. Aya as well as visits to PHC facilities in the Northern Senatorial District.