Making Ondo Contributory Health Commission work (The Hope Wednesday October 9, 2019)

With a frightening increase of over 200 million people, half of whom are irredeemably poor, accessibility to qualitative medical service remains a major problem in our country. In a country where incessant strike actions by health personnel are notorious and governments’ response is slow and nauseating, the challenges of providing qualitative health care can better be imagined. Evidence abound that poverty and unemployment are major impediments hindering the provision of health service for those in dire need of this vital social service. The peculiarity of our dilemma can further be understood by the outdated cash and carry system of the nation’s monetary transactions which compels patients to pay in cash for transactions including hospitals. Over the years, the cash and carry system has prevented majority of the citizens from accessing quality health care due to poverty, unemployment and general uncertainty in the nation’s public health sector. Concerns for affordability of health care and the increasing health costs appear to have forced some health planners and Governments to evolve fresh and more innovative ideas of funding the health sector. The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) established by the Federal Government in 2005 and the newly set up Ondo State Contributory Health Commission are health financing mechanisms to alleviate the health challenges of the people. The Hope is excited at the formation of the Contributory Health Insurance Agency which will ensure the availability of alternate sources of funding to the commission for improved services. The Commission, a pet project of the Akeredolu administration is aimed among other objectives at ensuring equitable distribution of health care costs across different interest groups. We hope the Contributors would be reasonably convinced by the Agency’s operations to deliver up-to-date efficient and reliable health care to the people as done in other climes. If Nigerians are less enamored in participating in laudable social schemes of this nature, perhaps, the fault is not theirs but due to bad experiences and the financial mismanagement of the previous social schemes. The chaos, fraud and attendant crisis noticeable in similar sister Agencies at Federal and State levels are blind spots and clear warning signals for officers and men of the Ondo State Contributory  Commission to be wary of those who run and operate similar agencies in civilized societies seamlessly are not angels but human beings like our folks. What differentiates them is their uncommon commitment and zeal. The Hope enjoins the pioneer Staff of the Agency led by Dr Abiodun Oyeneyin, a quintessential Medical Doctor whose private sector experience should provide the pedal power to drive the agency to success. The agency must ensure that contributors have value for their money through the caliber of Staff and Consultants recruited to power it off. We suggest that all Staff of the agency should be subjected to background checks before being offered employment to ensure that criminals do not infiltrate the Agency. Corruption which had been identified as impacting negatively on the nation‘s health sector should not be allowed to thrive in the Agency through clean and prompt reimbursement of service providers. The challenge to stop medical tourism to foreign and less endowed countries than our country must galvanise the Commission to develop first class health facilities to our people and halt the needless squander of the country’s hard earned foreign currency on services which Nigerians have the capacity and competency to offer if properly mobilized. The organized labour in the State has a duty to support and help promote the success of the scheme in the overall interest of its members and the social effect on the vulnerable and the masses. We hope the Agency will leverage on its private sector driven leadership to make the commission a huge success and a reference point to other similar agencies for efficiency, transparency and value for money and services. The Hope wishes the Agency a smooth and successful take-off.

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The Contributory Health Scheme is a Health System consisting of compulsory contribution and pooling of funds together to Finance Expenditure to pay for all or partly Health Services to be rendered to the beneficiary/enrollee with the purpose of providing access to affordable & qualitative health care.

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