By Roseline Irek

The Cross River State Health Insurance Agency (CRSHIA) has assured Cross Riverians that the State's Health Insurance Scheme, popularly called AYADECARE, will cater for the health needs of vulnerable persons in the State.

The declaration was made recently at the Palaces of the Paramount Ruler of Bakassi/Chairman Traditional Rulers Council, His Royal Majesty, Dr Etim Okon Edet and the Paramount Ruler of Calabar South/Muri Munene of the Efuts, His Royal Majesty,  Muri (Prof.) Itam Hogan Itam.

CRSHIA’s Director General, Chief Godwin Iyala, who led the Special Adviser on Health, Dr Edem Ushie and Regional Manager, South-South of United Healthcare  International Limited, Miss Josephine Onyebi Odeh, on advocacy visits, said of a surety, the Federal and State Governments will soon be applauded because of the availability of the Federal Government's basic health care from which the State could draw from and the engagement of third party administrators (TPAs) who are already on ground to run the scheme.

Chief Iyala maintained that enrollment for the scheme would start in a couple of months at the Agency’s Office located at Minika Davis (School Road), Off Atekong Drive, State Housing Estate, Calabar.

Chief Iyala disclosed that those to enjoy the Scheme's free and quality health care includes elderly persons, Pregnant women and Children below five (5) years, reiterating that one of the main objectives of the State Government for the Scheme is for the rich to give a shoulder to the poor; hence the contributory payment of One Thousand Naira (N1, 000) per enrollment.

The DG disclosed that a survey conducted by the Agency revealed that the expenditure for average healthcare for a person in the State is at least N64,000 per annum, while the State Health Insurance scheme would put one man’s healthcare expenditure at N12,000 only, adding that it is advantageous to purchase a yearly family package of N45,000, thereby leaving each enrolled person’s fee at N9,000 per year.

Chief Iyala added however that treatment for Cancer is not included in the insurance package because of the huge account involved in cancer management. He called on the Royal Fathers to educate their subjects to receive the healthcare insurance scheme with open hands and that the elites should give a helping hand to the less privileged in their communities.

Responding, the Paramount Ruler of Bakassi/ Chairman, Traditional Rulers Council, HRM Dr. Etim Okon Edet, said his initial fear when he was informed of the visit of the CRSHIA Team, was that his people were going to be used for a pilot scheme as done by other programmers.

His Royal Majesty said he was giving his full support to the scheme, maintaining that the people would pay up the N1,000, but would not accept failure.

In the same vein, the Paramount Ruler of Calabar South, HRM Muri (Prof.) Itam Hogan Itam, who commented on the deplorable state of the health of the elderly and malnutrition symptoms in children in his domain, described the AyadeCare Programme as a welcome idea, assuring that he would wholeheartedly encourage his people to participate in the scheme.#

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