By Ene Asuquo
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has sought collaboration with Cross River State Health Insurance Agency (CRSHIA) in a bid to strengthen stakeholder involvement in the fight against malaria in the State.
Speaking during a working visit to the Cross River State Health Insurance Agency, recently, USAID’s Malaria Management Specialist in Nigeria, Dr. Veronica Momoh, said her team was in Calabar to get first-hand information about the State’s Health Insurance Scheme’s coverage for malaria in order to make informed decisions on possible ways of collaboration, as well as deepening the course of malaria elimination in Cross River, nay Nigeria.
Dr. Momoh further stated that USAID, through the United States President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), contributes to the vision of Nigeria’s National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) of having “a malaria free Nigeria,” and the PMI’s goal of reducing malaria‐associated mortality by reducing the incidence of severe malaria and associated complications. She added that PMI aims to reduce all causes of under‐five and maternal mortality by delivering quality services for management of malaria and its complications and, prevention of malaria during pregnancy.
Some of these services, she mentioned, include the distribution of commodities like drugs, treated mosquito nets, etc.
In his response, the Director General of Cross River State Health Insurance Agency, Sir Godwin Iyala, informed the team that the State Health Insurance Scheme has a robust Benefit Package that covers malaria in entirety because of its high prevalence in tropical Africa.
“Our hundred percent malaria coverage is our own contribution and effort at ensuring that malaria is eliminated. We have, in line with best practices, planned to deliver quality, affordable and accessible healthcare services that will eliminate catastrophic consequences and out-of-pocket expenditures for healthcare,” Sir Iyala remarked.
The CRSHIA boss hinted that 196 health facilities across the State’s 18 Local Government Areas and all the General Hospitals in the State have been dedicated to cater to primary and secondary access of care respectively, while, just recently, a memorandum of understanding was signed with the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital for tertiary referrals when the need arises.
“Let me thank the USAID team for deeming it necessary to partner with the Insurance component of the State Health sector in the delivery of its mandate. With this synergy, USAID is etching on the history books as partners in the enthronement of Universal Health Coverage in Cross River State,” he concluded.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, Dr. David Ushie briefed the USAID team about the progress of health revolution in the State, informing the officials of the satisfactory pace of work on the construction of a drone service that will convey drugs and other essential health care materials to hard-to-reach areas of the State.
Dr. Ushie averred that the technology, when completed, will serve as an invaluable resource for emergencies in the far-flung areas of the State, given its difficult terrains.
Also on the USAID team was the Cross River State Coordinator of the Project, Dr. Victor Bassey, Mrs. Linda Lawrence, and a host of Implementing Partners.