Dr. Mordi Ononye, Delta Commissioner for Health, on Monday, disclosed that the State Contributory Health Insurance Scheme has registered over 600,000 persons.

Ononye disclosed this at the opening of the 62nd National Council on Health (NCH) holding in Asaba from Sept. 9 to 13.

Newsmen report that the theme of the council is: “Consolidating the Journey Toward Achieving Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria.”

Ononye noted that the theme of the meeting and its sub-themes were apt and excellently chosen to address the myriads of challenges in the country’s health sector.

According to him, the state, after hosting the 53rd NCH in August 2009, has gone through a revolutionary trend of 12 years of free maternal and nine years of free under-five healthcare.

He said that the achievement recorded had greatly impacted Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa’s major policy trust on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), which occasioned the establishment of the Delta State Contributory Commission in February 2016.

“With the establishment of the health insurance scheme, the state experienced tremendous improved financial access to health care services.

“As at today, since the inception of the insurance scheme in the state, about 600,000 persons, with access to health services in 110 primary, 65 secondary and 52 private healthcare facilities across the state, have been enrolled into the scheme.

“Again, state government pursued vigorously, the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), which is envisaged as one of the single most potent social security interventions, towards the achievement of UHC.

“Delta has paid its contribution of N100 million, required to domesticate the BHCPF, and with the funds made available to it, 229 PHC facilities, are at various stages of a facility upgrade.

“But we request that more money be made available to the state, to ensure that each of the 268 wards has a PHC facility,” he said.

He further said that the state government has set up the State Task Force on Counterfeit and Fake Drugs Committee in line with federal government policy on drug distribution and procurement.

Ononye expressed hope that the resolutions of the meeting would further promote the tenets of the National Strategic Health Development Plan.

Mr Abdulaziz Abdullahi, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, announced the rules for the commencement of paper presentations and expectations of the council.

Newsmen report that the sub-themes for the meeting were “Operationalisation of the Second National Strategic Health Development.”

“Framework for the Acceleration of Maternal and Child Health in Nigeria”, “Improving Health Outcomes Through Performance for Result, and “Basic Health Care Provision Fund: a Roadmap Towards Achieving UHC.”

Other sub-themes are: “Health Emergencies, Outbreak – Preparedness and Response” and “Curbing the Growing Menace of Mental and Substance Abuse Among Women and Young People.”

Newsmen also report that participants were drawn from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the five-day programme billed to end on Friday.

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