The Governor of the State of Osun, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, on Thursday, flagged off the distribution of Osun Health Insurance Scheme (OHIS) beneficiaries’ card to 69,273 enrollees.
This, according to Oyetola, is both historic and symbolic, adding that it marks a watershed in his administration’s quest for ensuring that none of the people is left behind in accessing qualitative health care.
This is as Oyetola also announced his selection for decoration as Ambassador for Better Health at the UHC Summit being organized by the UHC 2023 Forum in collaboration with Chatham House, London
at the Yar’Adua International Conference Centre, Abuja, come 16th December 2021 in recognition of his administration’s sterling performance in the health sector.
Oyetola, who lauded the leadership of OHIS for the sterling performance of the Agency since commencing operation, said his administration was particularly about engineering the Osun Health Insurance Scheme (OHIS) with a view to making all citizens have access to better healthcare.
“To demonstrate this commitment, we released the sum of N150million as take-off grant for the Agency and over N477million as equity grant meant for the premium for the poor, the needy and the vulnerable within our first year in office
“We also established the OHIS Drug Distribution Centre which is now supplying medicines and consumables to 16 OHIS-accredited government secondary health facilities across the State to put an end to the perennial out-of-stock syndrome of medicines in government secondary healthcare facilities for health insurance enrollees.
“With about 300,000 residents already enlisted on the State Social Health Insurance Scheme (OHIS) and 195,565 successfully enrolled and accessing care under the Scheme, OHIS is up and running well, and we are proud of it as one of the leading State Health Insurance Agencies in the country.
“To further strengthen the Scheme, we have consistently paid the government’s share of public servants’ health insurance premium which is 3% of workers basic salary and paid the equity grant meant for the provision of treatment and care for the vulnerable/less privileged people in the State free of charge, making us the second in the entire Federation to do so.
“It is indeed heart-warming to note that in recognition of the achievements of the Agency, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) selected OHIS for piloting the Integration of Tuberculosis (TB) with State Social Health Insurance Schemes (SSHIS) in Nigeria in collaboration with their consultants at Equitable Health Access Initiative (EHAI). The programmes have just been completed and the enrolled patients are already receiving treatment for TB across the State, as part of the OHIS Equity Programme for vulnerable persons”, Oyetola stated.
Oyetola also described the programme as one that is strategically linked with other social intervention programmes of his administration, part of which is the flagship Osun Food Support Scheme, which supports 30,000 vulnerable persons in the state on a monthly basis.
Oyeyola announced plans to roll out other support programmes for the elderly and widows in Osun.
“These programmes have been carefully designed to ensure that none of our citizens is left behind in receiving adequate care for a good life. In other words, these programmes are meant to serve ancillary purposes to our broad-based economic revitalization agenda of our administration targeted at putting our economy on sure footing”, he added.
In his remark, the Timi of Ede, Oba (Dr) Munirudeen Adesola Lawal, commended Oyetola for keeping his promises to the people, adding that it is both a mark of responsible leadership and true democracy.
“We are grateful to God and to you that the promises you made to the people while seeking election into office is being fulfilled systematically and sequentially. The mark of a responsible leader and administration is that promises are fulfilled. This is also a true mark of democracy.
“We are grateful to God that we have you as governor. People who have gone to health centres on the strength of this Scheme have continued to testify, and this continues to give us the needed assurance of your commitment to the wellbeing of the people”, Oba Lawal stated.
The Special Adviser on Public Health, Dr. Siji Olamiju, described the activities of Osun Health Insurance Agency as laudable and a proof of Governor Oyetola’s commitment to the welfare and wellbeing of citizens.
“Anyone who has health challenges and has difficulties meeting the required financial obligations will appreciate more what the Osun Health Insurance Scheme stands for. Governor Oyetola, through his commitment to qualitative healthcare in Osun has rolled away the possibility of funds standing in the way of access to healthcare. This is indeed a great gain for residents of the state and a big impact by the government of Mr Adegboyega Oyetola”, Olamiju said.
In his welcome address, the Chairman of the Osun Health Insurance Agency Governing Board, Hon. Andrew Adeoye Adelakun, lauded Governor Adegboyega Oyetola’s commitment to the scheme, noting that the scheme had been sustained by the tenacity of the governor.
According to Adelakun, Oyetola has never failed to remit the three percent government contribution, including the 1.5 percent of staff monthly deduction to the Agency in the last three years of his administration.
“This has greatly helped to reduce out-of-pocket expenditure on health of residents of the State, most especially the public servants, the vulnerable and rhe poorest of the poor.
“The government of our dear State is aware that not everybody is able to pay and inability to pay should not be a hindrance to accessing quality healthcare. Our governor sees access to healthcare as a matter of human rights which should not be denied any resident. This is why even the vulnerable population has been given serious consideration”, Adelakun said.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of the Osun Health Insurance Agency, Dr. Niyi Oginni, who outlined the achievements of the Agency, lauded Oyetola for giving life to the scheme which has now become a reference point for other Health Insurance Agencies in the country.
Oginni said Oyetola has surpassed all other governors through his commitment to the promises he made to ensure qualitative health of citizens, announcing that Oyetola is to receive an award as Ambassador for Better Health in Nigeria from the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Forum on December 16.
While also highlighting the impact of Osun Health Insurance Agency, Oginni said: “The NHIS has existed for 15 years and has not covered beyond 5 percent of the population. The Osun Health Insurance Agency has only existed for two years and we have covered 3.7 percent of the population. It is certain that at the end of ten years, we would have covered about 60 percent of the population”, Oginni said.