The Niger state Commissioner of Health and Hospital Services, Dr. Mohammed Makusidi, has flagged off the informal sector enrolment of beneficiaries into the state Contributory Health Scheme, targeting over 40,265 members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
Speaking at the commencement of the registration exercise at the state secretariat of NURTW in Minna Tuesday, the commissioner said the health scheme kicked off with the informal sector because it formed the bulk of the state’s population with many vulnerable individuals.
He said, “Our vision is to provide affordable, accessible and qualitative health care services to the residents of Niger state. It is also part of our efforts to improve life expectancy of residents of Niger state which hovers around 45 to 75 years over the last decade. As you know, people spend a lot of money from their pockets before they can access health services and the only way to avoid or avert this is to introduce and implement a health insurance scheme.”
He said the ministry has been carrying out proper assessment in the state and putting in place a conducive environment, structure, human resource, drugs and equipment for smooth operation of the scheme.
He stated that, “We have already earmarked 270 facilities for this exercise though gradually, we will scale up to secondary and tertiary institutions. For now, we are starting this health insurance scheme in 171 facilities.”
The commissioner said the state government has decided to assist the vulnerable members of the society to enroll for the scheme by setting aside its share from the 1% consolidated revenue fund.
Also speaking, the state chairman of NURTW, Alhaji Garba Musa Baba, said over 40, 265 members of the union are ready to enroll for the scheme considering the fact that most of them are commercial drivers from the rural areas.