Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, has flagged off the State Health Insurance Scheme (KHIS), with a charge on citizens and residents to register and take advantage of the scheme.

According to a statement by the governor’s spokesperson Muideen Akorede, KHIS replaces the State Community Health Insurance scheme with the goal to provide quality, accessible and affordable healthcare to all citizens and residents of the state for a low annual premium.

Speaking at the official launching of the scheme, which held on Thursday at the Banquet Hall, Ilorin, Mr Ahmed said the establishment of the scheme was a reflection of his administration’s commitment to the health and well-being of people of the state.

“Thanks to its low, affordable premium and associated quality healthcare, the Kwara State Health Insurance Scheme takes us closer to our dream of universal healthcare for our people,” Mr Ahmed stated.

To ensure adequate funding of the scheme, the governor said that the state government had set aside an initial N200million for its take-off. He added that the government had also committed to contributing one percent of its annual Consolidated Revenue Fund and to subsidise premiums and service delivery to those considered part of the poorest in the society.

Furthermore, Mr Ahmed said the government will boost the scheme with 40 per cent of funds received through the “Saving One Million Lives Performance for Results Initiative”, a programme of the Federal Ministry of Health supported by the World Bank and targeted at improving maternal and child health in Nigeria.

The governor said with the launch of the scheme, citizens and residents of Kwara State are expected to enroll on the program as required by the law establishing it. He added that “no more will citizens and residents of Kwara State be unable to access critical treatment because they cannot afford to pay hospital fees or buy prescribed drugs.”

Mr Ahmed commended the State House of Assembly for the quick passage of the Health Insurance Bill. He equally thanked partners, donors and philanthropic organisations, including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PharmAccess Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gate Foundation, USAID and partners of the Saving Lives At Birth Project, and SafeCare for partnering the State Government to bring the scheme to fruition.

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