CRSHIA assured of support from formal sector, organized labour ahead of enrolment kick-off

By: Kingsley Agim, CRS-MOI Information Officer, reporting from CRSHIA

In a bid to strengthen advocacy ahead of the April 7 enrolment flag-off and elicit total buy-in from residents of the State into the Health Insurance Scheme, the Cross River State Health Insurance Agency has received a boost through support coming from the formal sector and organized labour bodies in the State.

The Support came from the State Head of Service, Dr. Chris Ekeng Ita, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Budget, Monitoring and Evaluation, Rt. Hon. Moses Onor, the Chairman of Cross River State Chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Comrade Ben Ukpepi and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Comrade John Odey in a plethora of recent advocacy visits to the aforementioned heads.

In the Agency’s first point of call, Head of Service of Cross River State, Dr.  Chris Ekeng Ita, stated that the passage of the Hhealth Insurance Law in 2016 and the subsequent enrolment to commence in April, gives him hope for the realization of quality and affordable healthcare service delivery in Cross River State.

“It gladdens my heart that we have come to this level. Because children under the age of five years; pregnant women, and the vulnerable population would be catered for. I am happy that the State has risen up to its primary responsibility of providing affordable and quality health care for the citizenry,” the Head of Service remarked.

The State’s number one civil servant expressed delight at the Health Insurance blueprint and the progress so far, cautioning that the Third Party administrators must be seasoned practitioners, who know the terrain of the State and possess the requisite capacity to reach out to the population of the State.

He congratulated the Health Insurance Agency, on behalf of the State civil servants, for doing thus well, and hoped that the Agency delivers on its mandate.

In his remarks, the second host, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Budget, Monitoring and Evaluation, Rt. Hon. Moses Onor, called for a consolidated database for the CRSHIA that would enhance free flow of information and progress of work in order for the leadership and stakeholder to make informed decisions concerning the Scheme.

Rt. Hon. Onor hoped that with the capacity of the Head of the Agency, the Cross River State Health Insurance scheme is bound to succeed.

In the Team’s third point of call, the Chairman, Cross River State Chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Comrade Ben Ukpepi, thanked the Director-General of the CRSHIA, Chief Godwin Iyala for recognizing labour in the State as an ally in the realization and implementation of the scheme, noting that the organized labour and its affiliates are completely in support of the Health Insurance Scheme.

The labour leader said his union will continue to ensure that government lives up to its billing by giving priority attention to health care, as he paraphrased the adage “health is wealth.”

“Labour will continue to agitate that health facilities in the State are upgraded to enhance the smooth operations of the Scheme,” Comrade Ukpepi avverred, pointing out that with tangible commitment of on the scheme, citizens and residents of the State will be compelled to enroll into the programme.

He applauded Governor Ben Ayade for committing one percent of the State’s Consolidated revenue Fund to the Scheme, adding that on receipt of the Federal Government’s one percent Consolidated Revenue Fund for meant for the 36 States and Federal Capital territory, Cross River State Health Insurance Scheme will have a better footing towards providing quality health care service delivery foor the people of the State.

Articulating his views, Chairman of the trade union Congress, Cross River State Chapter, Comrade John Odey, who expressed his Union’s support to the Scheme, called for the establishment of more health facilities across the State, as well as increase the strength of health personnel to improve the onerous responsibility of healthcare service delivery.

Comrade Odey charged government to expedite action on the pending release of the 1000 health workers recruitment, update existing health centres for ease of operation of the Scheme.

Earlier, the Director-General of the CRSHIA, Chief Godwin Iyala, said the essence of his Agency’s advocacy programme was to keep critical stakeholders abreast of the impending enrolment exercise, the advantage of the programme, the state of affairs and other relevant information tantamount to the scheme.

The CRSHIA Team concluded its day’s activity with an enlightenment meeting at the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Ikot Ishie Parish, Calabar.

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