In his bid to make healthcare available to the people, former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Sunday, December 19, registered 1,000 people in the Community Health Insurance Scheme in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
The insurance scheme, which is the first of its kind by an individual, was put together by the Abubakar Bukola Saraki Foundation.
Saraki, who was present at the ceremony with his wife, Toyin, said the insurance system was initiated to ensure that residents in the state enjoy healthy lives.
“Any population that is healthy is productive. We believe in the health sector and we believe in healthy population,” he said.
When he was governor of Kwara State in 2007, the former Senate President said he launched community health insurance, which was ultimately adopted by the federal government as the National Health Insurance Scheme.
“In 2018 when I was the Senate President, I ensured that one per cent of the budget estimate for the health sector goes to the health insurance scheme for the first time in the history of the country,” he said.
He urged community leaders to focus on health insurance, saying, “if community leaders can do this and invest in community health, we will achieve 100 per cent in health care delivery in the country”.
Dr Bukola Shitu-Muideen, the ABS Foundation’s Insurance Programme Coordinator, noted that the community health insurance scheme sought to achieve equitable, cheap, and high-quality health for all people, especially those in rural areas.
“It is part of the efforts to support the informal sector of the society because beneficiaries would enjoy free treatment for ailments such as malaria, typhoid, diabetes and minor and intermediate surgery for the patients”.
According to Shitu-Muideen, pregnant women would receive free antenatal and delivery services in all health institutions in the state.
She said, “All beneficiaries are free to receive treatment in both government and private hospitals as the foundation has paid for their treatment”.
The coordinator said that 5,000 people would benefit from the scheme adding that the pilot scheme which was launched on Sunday only started with 1,000 beneficiaries selected from the 16 local government areas across the state.