Niger Govt. Introduces Contributory Health Scheme
The Niger government says it has established a contributory health agency (NGSCHA) to provide free and affordable healthcare services to the vulnerable in the state.
Dr. Jibril Mustapha, the State Commissioner for Health and Hospital Management, said this at a news conference in Minna, the Niger capital, on Wednesday.
He said that the bill establishing the agency and the scheme was passed into law on Dec.19, 2018 and assented to by Gov. Abubakar Bello on Jan. 9.
Jibril said the scheme was initiated to ensure that every resident had easy access to affordable healthcare services.
He explained that those in the informal sector would pay N600 monthly, while 2.5 per cent of the basic salary of those in the formal sector would be deducted, translating to N7,200 per annum for the scheme.
The commissioner said the agency would commence deduction of contributions from the formal sector by March.
According to him, the agency was working with the state chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress to ensure the success of the scheme.
He said that the state government had earmarked one per cent of its consolidated revenue and that of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund to take care of the scheme.
“Every registered person would no longer pay when receiving treatment in their choice of health facility and the aim is to ensure equitable distribution of health care cost across different income groups.
“This is also to maintain high standard of health care delivery services in the health sector and ensure the availability of alternative sources of funding for the health sector,” he said.
He urged the mass media to sensitise the public on the need to key into the free health care service delivery.
Also, Dr. Usman Mohammed, Executive Secretary of NGSCHA, said the agency would treat diseases such as malaria, typhoid, diabetes, child delivery for women, among others.
Mohammed further said that chronic diseases such cancer, kidney infection and heart attack might be referred to secondary health care facility. (NAN)