The Kano State government recently established a State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency (SCHMA) to boost healthcare service delivery in the state.
The agency will oversee the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme that was set up by the federal government.
Inaugurating the board of the new agency, Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, said the establishment of the new agency would address some of the difficulties faced by workers in seeking medical care in the state.
He said government would, through the agency, help ensure financing of the healthcare sector in a sustainable way as well as assist the state to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
The board has Dr Mansur Kabir, a former commissioner for health as executive secretary while Dr Bashir Muhammad, Dan Kadan Kano, would serve as the chairman of the board.
Explaining how the scheme would be implemented, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Kabir Getso, said the formal sector would be the first to benefit from the scheme. “For now we are starting with the formal sector then gradually, the informal and the vulnerable will be included,”he said.
Represented by the ministry’s Public Relations Officer, Alhaji Isma’il Garba Gwammaja, the commissioner said government has embarked on the renovation and upgrade of its health facilities to ensure the success of the scheme.
“Government is busy renovating its health facilities, equipping them with all the necessary drugs and consumables as well as increasing the manpower, all in preparation for the take-off of the scheme which is starting soon,” said the commissioner.
He added that the staff of the agency were trained on how to oversee the implementation of the scheme, adding that the state had taken its time to prepare for the implementation.
According to him, both the primary and secondary health facilities would be providing the service.
“Each person is free to choose the health facilities he wants and the agency will check to see if the facility is having all the necessary things and if found intact, the person will be allowed to go there,”he said.
However, some of the workers interviewed said they had little knowledge of the scheme.
A school teacher, Malama Asabe Muhammad, said she would just be compelled to participate but if given a choice she would not join the scheme.
“We don’t like it. If I have a choice I will not do it,” she said.
She noted that most workers were not aware of the terms of the scheme.
“Some are saying it is only for persons that have reached the age of 18, we don’t know the reality of the whole thing,” Malama Asabe added.
Though workers were complaining of not being sensitised about the scheme, when contacted, the chairman of the NLC, Kano branch, Comrade Kabiru Ado Minjibir, said workers have no option since the scheme has been passed into law.
“We will only look forward for its implementation,” he said.
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