Delta, UNICEF partner on contributory health insurance scheme

The Delta State Government has been commended for its initiative in setting up the Delta State Contributory Health Scheme, and the inclusion of free coverage for vulnerable pregnant women and children under-five years of age as part of the key components of the scheme.

This commendation was made by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Chief of Field Office in Port Harcourt covering Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa states in Nigeria, Mr. Wilboard Ngombi, when he led a team of UNICEF officials and Staff of the Overseas Development Agency under the Ministry of Economics planning on a Courtesy visit to the Delta State Contributory Health Commission’s Head Office in Asaba.

Ngombi said that his visit to the Commission was to acquaint himself with the details of the health insurance scheme; its challenges and possible opportunities for collaboration between UNICEF and the Contributory Health Commission.

While expressing delight at the strategic processes being put in place by the Commission to ensure success, the UNICEF Chief stated that access to Universal Health Coverage is good for any society to thrive, stressing that government must ensure social protection intervention measures in various sectors for the poor and vulnerable.

Ngombi revealed that already there is a Federal Government National Social Protection Policy, and pledged his willingness to support Delta State in domesticating that policy for social protection intervention in all other sectors like it has done in health through the establishment of the Delta State Contributory Health Scheme.

In his remarks, The Director General/Chief Executive Officer of the Delta State Contributory Health Commission (DSCHC), Dr. Ben Nkechika, thanked the team for the visit and their willingness to support the work of the Commission.

Nkechika enumerated steps already taken by the Commission in preparation for the full implementation of the scheme to include inspection and assessment visits to Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC) across the state, training programme for PHC workers in the 25 local government areas of the state for the registration of pregnant women and children under-five years of age into the scheme as well as a quality of service improvement programme across all health facilities in Delta State.

On his part, Chairman, Governing Board, DSCHC, Dr. Isaac Akpoveta, commended the State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, for giving priority to social health insurance to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), in Delta State stressing that the scheme would be driven with a private sector initiative by demanding commitment, professionalism and due diligence from its staff, as the success of the scheme was non-negotiable.

On the UNICEF team, were Dr. Egbe Abe, Health Specialist, UNICEF; Mrs. Ngozi Onuora, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF; and Mrs. Patience Ogbewe, Director, Overseas Development Agency, Delta State Ministry of Economic Planning, among others.

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Dr. Ben NkechikaUNICEF
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