Home / Health / Assist vulnerable population to access health insurance, USAID IHP urges F.G, Bauchi govt.

Assist vulnerable population to access health insurance, USAID IHP urges F.G, Bauchi govt.

From: Ruth  Yarnap, Bauchi

The United States of America Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Integrated Health Program (IHP) has called on the Federal and the Bauchi state government to assist the vulnerable population in the state who are unable to access health insurance due to poverty.

In a two-day Media Engagement workshop on Health Insurance Program, organized by USAID IHP in collaboration with Bauchi State Health Contributory Management Agency (BASHCMA), which held at Jamil hotel in Azare,  the State Director IHP, Dr Alhassan Siaka who gave the keynote remarks, said Bauchi state has a population of 5.3 million, but only 50,000 people can afford health insurance, a development which he noted was disheartening.

He said that both the Federal government and state government should improve Universal health coverage in the state by ensuring that the majority of the population do not pay out of their pockets.

According to him, “we realize that in a state like Bauchi where we have 5.3 million out of the estimated eight million population who are classified as extremely poor, it is going to be extremely difficult for this segment of the population to continually pay for healthcare services out of their pocket.

“We thought we should bring the attention of the media to this aspect of challenges to accessing primary health care, that a lot needs to be done to improve health insurance coverage for the people of Bauchi state. There are three elements of health insurance which include formal health insurance, informal health insurance and the Vulnerable people who do not have resources to pay for their health insurance”.

Dr Siaka said that most people, particularly the vulnerable group in the state are afraid of patronising healthcare services, not because they don’t want to, but because there is no money to pay for the services, adding that unless the federal and state government improve on existing interventions to cater for their health needs, there are going to continuous morbidities.

Speaking in his presentation on the benefits of Health Insurance and the Role of the Media in Bauchi State, the State IHP Health Financing Advisor, Khalid Kasimu said that in Bauchi state, there is huge investment in the health sector, but only few people have access to quality health care services, a development which, he noted, has to be changed.

According to him, the role of the media as gate keepers is to influence social behaviour change communication, saying that the media is responsible for deciding what issues society discuss in the public.

“62 percent of the state’s population live below one dollar, whereas government is busy building health structures and making huge investments to ensure that people access these services, but the barriers hindering the vulnerable population from accessing health services has to be removed for people to enjoy the services” he said.

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