By Ikeugonna Eleke
Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, says his administration has improved the healthcare system in the state and also moved a step further to guarantee the health of the people through health insurance.
Obiano spoke during the launch of a Mobile Technology Health Insurance Platform and Data Operations Centre in Anambra State which was witnessed by development partners, including United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon; World Health Organization country representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Molondo and Chief Field Officer “A” UNICEF Enugu, Mr Ibrahim Kahlil Conteh, among others.
The Mobile Technology Health Insurance Platform and Data Operations Centre is an electronic wallet for the Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA) to cater for the health needs of the people.
Obiano said: ‘ASHIA has improved the ease with which Anambra people access healthcare in Anambra State, and it is an innovation and a legacy project of this administration.
‘What we had envisioned with the ASHIA was to address the challenge of health financing which our people face on a consistent basis due to paucity of funds. Digitizing its processes has been an ongoing process aimed at ensuring that our people access the services of the agency without stress,’ he said.
Obiano urged wealthy Anambra citizens to enroll as many people as possible in their community into the ASHIA initiative, noting that spending out of pocket could be quite challenging during a health crisis.
In his speech, Kallon harped on the need to enact measures to ensure sustainability of the ASHIA initiative and to target the most vulnerable.
He commended the Anambra State Government, for the reforms made by the administration in the health sector, stating that the data operations centre was strategic in making informed decisions and policies so as to drive better healthcare access for Anambra people.
‘The centre meets international best practices and I want to encourage other states to visit Anambra and copy the reforms the state has implemented in the health sector, especially the model of the Data Operations Centre. There is the need for the government to make deliberate efforts to ensure that this initiative is sustained beyond the present administration,’ he advised.
For his part, the Chief Field Officer “A” UNICEF Enugu, Mr Conteh, expressed satisfaction with the level of technology being maximized by the agency to give health insurance to Anambrarians, promising to buy health premium for the aged in the state.