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Primary School Students Nationwide To Enjoy Free Medical Coverage

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Pupils in public primary schools in Nigeria will soon enjoy free

healthcare at all levels, under a special arrangement currently receiving

finishing touches by technocrats of the National Health Insurance Scheme

The Executive Secretary of the Scheme, Dr. Femi Thomas made this known

during an advocacy visit to the Governor of Abia State, Chief Theodore

Orji, in Umuahia, recently.
He described this initiative as one the strategies being developed by the

Scheme towards the timely and unfailing attainment of universal health

coverage in the country.
Dr. Thomas appealed to Governor Orji to make health insurance mandatory in

his state, as a significant step in the promotion of health insurance as a

social solidarity, by which those with financial capacity  make provision

for those who cannot afford to pay for healthcare.

According to him, the comprehensive digital process of registering the

primary school children in the exercise is being finalised by the Scheme,

so as to ensure that the integrity of the registration process is

preserved through transparency and total inclusion.

He noted that the Scheme would bear the total cost of the programme for

the initial year, after which the state governments would be required to

provide sixty percent of the funding, while the Scheme would bring up the

balance of forty percent. This is to guarantee the sustainability of the

Thomas hinted at the occasion, that at the expiration of the NHIS/MDGs

special intervention for Maternal and Child Health in 2015, pregnant women

in the benefiting states will continue to enjoy free healthcare

nationwide, with the scheme bearing the cost for the first three years.

He therefore urged the Governor to ensure the participation of his state

in the programme, as a political bonus before the expiration of the

programme in 2015.
Responding, Governor Theodore Orji explained that his administration

operates a two-point agenda of Security and Health, which underlines his

recognition  of health as a strategic component of the human capital

profile in any society.
Further to this, he gave the cheering news that he has directed that Abia

state workforce in the seventeen Local Government Areas be integrated into

NHIS, adding that to demonstrate commitment, the state government has

already engaged six HMOs to actualise  the objective.

The Governor, who gave the assurance that Abia state will fold into the

NHIS/MDGs MCH programme under his administration, also promised to make

available a piece of land, following a request by the Scheme, for the

development of the state office of NHIS in Umuahia.

The NHIS team was received by a high powered delegation of the Abia state

government, led by the Governor and included the Deputy Governor and

members of the state Executive Council.