The Kaduna State Contributory Health Management Authority (KADCHMA) has engaged members of the State Assembly to improve healthcare financing towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
The engagement was supported by Save the Children International (SCI) and Lafia, a United Kingdom and Nigeria partnership for a healthier future.
The Director General, KADCHMA, Mr Abubakar Hassan, said at the close of the two-day meeting in Abuja on Tuesday that the goal was to ensure the prioritisation of health in the state legislative agenda.
Hassan added that the engagement was also to increase the effectiveness of health financing, role of legislators in improving health service delivery and enhance their understanding of the Kaduna health insurance scheme.
He also said that the meeting was to strengthen legislative response on prevention, detection, and response to infectious diseases.
“It is part of our strategies to ensure that all the stakeholders key into the health financing component of health insurance in Kaduna State.
“We started by engaging the local government chairmen and now advocated to the members of the State Assembly to support the process with a view to achieve UHC in Kaduna State,” he said.
Hassan said that the authority had registered a total number of 514,982 beneficiaries in the scheme, representing five per cent of the total population of the state.
He stressed the need to increase investment in the scheme to enroll more residents and reduce out-of-pocket expenditures on health.
According to him, health insurance is the most sustainable mechanism to ensure sustainable health care financing in the state.
The director general described the meeting as a “huge success”, adding that the lawmakers had demonstrated commitment to support the process.
This, according to him, will strengthen working synergy among the different arms of government in the state.
Also, Mr Yusuf Goje, a member of the Civil Society – Legislative Engagement and Accountability Platform, pointed out that only N1.9 billion was allocated to KADCHMA in the 2023 budget.
Goje added that of the amount, only N183.5 million was released as at June, adding, however, that the release was mainly on paper while the larger chunk of the cash was yet to be released to the authority.
He tasked the lawmakers on oversight functions to ensure at least 90 per cent cash release of allocated funds to KADCHMA, ensure budget realism and link allocations to strategic priority areas.
Goje also advised the lawmakers to pay health insurance scheme premiums for the poor and vulnerable in their communities as constituency projects which would impact directly on their constituents.
Mr Muazu Habibu, State Team Lead, Lafiya Programme, reiterated its continued support to the Kaduna State Government to strengthen its health systems.
He said that the objective of the programme was to contribute to improving health outcomes for the poorest and most vulnerable by encouraging the state government to increase investment in the health sector.
Similarly, Mr Farouk Abdulkadir, Advocacy and Campaign Coordinator, Gates IV Project, SCI, urged the lawmakers to place health in the government agenda through their statutory functions of appropriation, oversight, and representation.
Abdulkadir said that engagement of the lawmakers was key, adding that improving health systems would strengthen the government’s ability to provide quality health services and prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats.
The Deputy Speaker, Kaduna State Assembly, Mr Magaji Danjuma, said that the engagement was impactful, adding that they need more engagements to increase their knowledge on how the health insurance scheme works.
Danjuma, who represents Kagarko State Constituency in the assembly, promised that the lawmakers would support the domestication of the National Health Insurance Act, 2022, in line with the peculiarities of the state.
He also assured that the assembly would work towards ensuring that the one per cent consolidated revenue allocation of the scheme was released to KADCHMA to enable the agency to achieve its mandate.
The deputy speaker also promised that the lawmakers would consider providing health insurance cover to the poor and vulnerables in their communities as a constituency project. (NAN)
Source: News Agency of Nigeria