By our reporter
In a bid to accelerate universal health coverage and strengthen Information Communication and Technological services in primary healthcare facilities, the Cross River State Health Insurance Agency and its primary health care counterpart have supplied computer sets, medical consumables and other essential materials to over 100 primary healthcare facilities in the state.
The items were donated as part of deliverables from both health insurance and primary Healthcare financing gateways which are the two gateways adopted by Federal government through the basic health care scheme to improve healthcare access, especially to low and zero income earners.
At the presentation ceremony, the Director General, Cross River State Health Insurance Agency, Dr. Godwin Iyala described the presentation of the items as part of the cardinal intervention of the state Health Insurance Scheme towards scaling up healthcare services at health facilities in Cross River State.
Iyala also added that a major increase in financial resources for health is needed to scale up health interventions and strengthen health delivery systems to ensure that these interventions are accessible, particularly for the poor, adding that Health insurance scheme holds the promise of ensuring a guaranteed pool of funds for health, improving the efficiency of management of health resources and protecting people against catastrophic health expenditure.
While appreciating the CRSHIA for the items, the Director General, Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Janet Ekpenyong stated that as part of ways to resolve some of the issues faced by ward focal persons, the agency organized an integrated meeting to afford them the opportunity to listen to their challenges at their various facilities and try to breach such gaps.
“Usually as an agency, we always try as much as possible to have quarterly meetings with our ward focal persons. It is always an opportunity to review Primary Healthcare (PHC) services and other new things coming up. For this particular meeting, we decided to have an integrated meeting with the State Health Insurance Agency because of the Basic Healthcare Implementation that has also commenced. We also have the measles campaign coming up. We try to engage the ward focal persons before such implementation to help achieve 100% coverage we are thriving for.”
“Since the commencement of Basic Healthcare, part of the services the health insurance will be providing is to strengthen ICT components because registration of clients and other ICT-related components is key in our PHCs. Most of the facilities today were given laptops which is to help strengthen ICT services in the facility. The meeting also affords us the opportunity to listen to their challenges at their various facilities and try to breach such gaps.”
Speaking on the unnecessary charges from the health workers to pregnant women, Ekpenyong mentioned that the agency has received complaints of how health workers over charged pregnant women, leaving them with the option of visiting Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs), adding that the affected health workers will be penalized.
“Unfortunately, we received some complaints that some health workers in their facilities have been overcharging pregnant women and other facility users. We frown at such acts because that would discourage people from accessing the facility. We are looking for ways to encourage pregnant women to patronize our facilities rather than go to Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs). This kind of thing, we totally condemn it and we are going to ensure that the affected health workers are penalized.”
She also stated that 130 facilities have been accredited by the Health Insurance Scheme, hoping that in no time the 196 facilities in the state will be accredited.
“Right now the Health Insurance Scheme (HIS) has accredited over 130 facilities that have received capitation from health insurance gateway, but we are hoping that 196 facilities will be accredited so that all facilities can enjoy capitation as well as funding from the primary health care gateway. So far, 70 (seventy) laptops have been given to facilities and today 50 have been given to other facilities.”
“As the HIS concludes on the installation of the software and other things that are needed to be done, more facilities will get the laptops.” She added.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Health , Dr David Ushie also outlined some of the expectations of the state government while also responding to some of the challenges faced by the ward focal persons in their various facilities as it concerns registration and other issues.
The event was also attended by directors and other staff of both agencies.