By Ijeoma Ukazu –
The Executive Secretary, Oyo State Health Insurance Agency (OYSHIA), Dr Olusola Akande has called for increased awareness among Oyo citizens on social health insurance programme to enable them embrace the scheme.
Akande who spoke to journalists at a two-day media dialogue on improving access and uptake healthcare for marginalised women and children in Oyo State, organised by Oyo State Ministry of Information in collaboration with OYSHIA and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The Health Insurance Boss said adequate sensitisation on the importance and benefits of health insurance are required for the programme to really gain ground sufficiently.
According to him, the agency has recorded 100,000 enrollees in the last 18 months of its operations and that it targets was to hit 450,000 to cover five percent of the population of the State before June 2019.
He listed the efforts of the agency aimed at providing quality healthcare services for the people of the State without experiencing catastrophic health expenditure.
Akande also said, no fewer than 100 pregnant women in the State have delivered through Caesarean Section (CS) done under the health insurance scheme, adding that thousands of residents of the State have benefited from the scheme.
He was worried that many people are still unaware of the activities of OYSHIA and sought the support of the media to propagate the importance of health insurance to the people so that more people would enroll in the scheme.
Dr. Akande said OYSHIA has been rated very high in terms of performance and assured that the agency would not relent in making sure that the people of the State enjoy quality healthcare without expending their entire savings on medical bills.
Also speaking at the event, Mr. Rotimi Babalola, Director, Press and Public Relations, Oyo State Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, praised UNICEF for its efforts in ensuring the wellbeing of children and women.
UNICEF Communication Specialist, Mrs. Blessing Ejiofor in her remarks said access to quality healthcare is a right of every child and charged the media to assist in reporting issues that would prompt the policy makers to take proactive steps and implement policies that would make life better for children, women and other vulnerable groups.
She explained that the objective of the dialogue was to create an opportunity for media advocacy on increasing access and uptake of healthcare services for children and venerable populations through the health insurance scheme using Oyo State Health Insurance Agency (OYSHIA) as a case study.
Ejiofor said the initiative was also designed to provide media partners with the knowledge and material that would assist them to understand the issues, advocate and report health insurance scheme to create more awareness of it and encourage more people to enroll in the scheme.
Similarly, Dr Adebola Hassan, UNICEF Health Specialist and other experts in their various presentations dwelled on the importance and benefits of health insurance and stressed the need to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and ensure good health for the citizens.