By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
*NHIS Executive Secretary, others applaud Governor Inuwa’s commitment to repositioning health sector, ensuring universal health coverage
Determined to revolutionize the health services in Gombe State, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya earlier today launched a mobile application technology for Gombe State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency (GoHealth).
This was contained in a statement signed by the Director-General (Press Affairs) Government House Gombe, Ismaila Uba Misilli, dated March 31, 2022.
He launched the mobile app during a stakeholders engagement meeting on Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) organised by GoHealth in collaboration with the German International Corporation GIZ, Legislative Initiative for Sustainable Development ( LISDEL) and Saif Advocacy Foundation. The Governor maintained that the launch of the mobile application is in line with his administration’s aspiration towards providing quality and affordable healthcare services for the people through GoHealth.
“Let me specially welcome the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme Prof. Mohammed Nasir Sambo for finding time out of his very tight schedule to be with us here in Gombe. We are proud of your sterling achievements at NHIS and your presence today is a testament to your incredible vision and result-driven approach towards transforming the entire health insurance ecosystem in Nigeria”.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya described the occasion as special because it combines both the stakeholder engagement with the launching of GoHealth mobile app which aligns with his administration’s policy of embracing innovative and technology-driven solutions to ensure effective and efficient healthcare service delivery to the people.
The Governor explained that the engagement was aimed at sensitizing all relevant stakeholders and the general public on the recently introduced contributory health care scheme and its various programmes targeting all categories of residents in the state.
“You will recall that on the 18th of March, 2021, I officially flagged off enrolment into the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) at Daban Fulani in Kwami Local Government Area. It is gladdening to see that the agency thereafter successfully enrolled over 25,000 poor and vulnerables across all the 114 wards of the state who have been accessing the Basic Minimum Package of Health Services at our revitalized primary healthcare centers since the 1st day of July, 2021”.
He maintained that the participation of Gombe State in the BHCPF was made possible because of his administration’s commitment towards revamping the health care delivery system following years of neglect by the past administrations.
“On our assumption of office, we declared a state of emergency in the health sector. Over the past three years, we recorded tremendous achievements across all areas of the health ecosystem. These include the establishment of the Gombe State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency, the settlement of all outstanding counterpart obligations and earmarking not less than 1% of our consolidated revenue of the state and local governments as equity fund to complement the BHCPF in order to extend coverage of this laudable intervention to more vulnerable persons in our communities”.
Governor Inuwa also noted that GoHealth beneficiaries enjoy effective medical consultations, admissions, provision of regular medications and surgical operations all at no cost to them.
He added that healthcare providers are also receiving regular funding which enables them to maintain their facilities, ensure the availability of drugs and other medical consumables as well as improving the capacity of human resource in the health sector.
The Governor remarked that the stakeholder engagement also highlights the commencement of the second phase of GoHealth enrolment.
“I would therefore like to use this opportunity to urge all stakeholders to mobilize the poor and vulnerable in our various communities for enrollment in order to meet the healthcare needs of our people. Our target this year is to enroll a minimum of 40,000 poor and vulnerable people into the program. We are committed to improving the lives of our people across all the nooks and crannies of the state, in line with our electoral promises and plans”.
“Similarly, you might also recall that on the 2nd day of June 2021, I officially launched the formal sector programme of the scheme. Today, I’m proud to see that nearly 60,000 state civil servants and their dependants have been enrolled and have started accessing care since 1st October, 2021. This will provide subsidized healthcare services for our civil servants, thereby enhancing workers’ welfare and improving productivity”.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya revealed that the Informal sector programme has also commenced and therefore urged all residents to take advantage of the programme to register themselves and their loved ones so as to prevent rising healthcare cost and its devastating social and economic consequences.
“Through this model, they can sponsor and enroll family members, friends, neighbors and dependents into the program by paying an agreed premium fee to enable them enjoy access to quality and affordable healthcare services”.
He said in order to accelerate the drive towards achieving Universal Health Coverage in the state, his administration adopted innovative use of ICT for health in order to improve service delivery, ensure responsiveness, increase access, expand coverage and offer financial risk protection to the people.
“It is in this regard that we developed a robust and functional ICT ecosystem for GoHealth. GoHealth ICT Framework and Blueprint will enable Gombe State to leverage current and future ICT investments to build an integrated health information infrastructure and greatly contribute to Universal Healthcare Coverage”.
He observed that the demonstration of the GoHealth mobile App, it is clear that the App is user-friendly, safe and secure and enable individuals and groups to enroll into the scheme, book appointments with their care providers, make enquiries as well as provide feedback to enable the government take necessary measures to improve the quality of service.
“I would like to at this juncture congratulate and extol Gombe State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency for a successful implementation of the first phase of BHCPF as well as other programs of the agency especially the development of the GoHealth mobile application to facilitate ease-of-use and enhance service delivery. Let me make it clear that considering the level of digital literacy and broadband penetration in our communities, the Go-Health app is only part of a multi-platform strategy to deliver healthcare services to the door-steps of our people. Because in addition to the mobile App, GoHealth also boasts of a 24-hour call center where our people can call to access all their healthcare service and informational needs”.
The single out for recognition the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and development partners who have been supporting the State towards providing effective services to the people.
He said the effective collaboration with these important partners has further demonstrated the State Government commitment towards attracting external investment and support in order to improve the lives and livelihoods of the people.
“Our administration shall continue to partner and support all organizations, departments and agencies for the overall development of our dear State. I therefore urge all stakeholders here present to adequately mobilize and sensitize their members to make the best use of these opportunities so that our people can benefit from GoHealth programs that are specifically tailored to suit their unique needs and preferences”.
Speaking on the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, the Executive Secretary National Primary Health Care Insurance Scheme, Professor Mohammed Nasiru Sambo said the in order to create an avenue where Nigeria can successfully attain a Universal health coverage, the Federal Government deemed it necessary to establish the fund.
He observed that when Healthcare services is enhanced in the country the life expectancy of it citizens will surge, thereby eliminating avoidable health complications leading to untimely death.
The Professor said it is unthinkable to operate a functional healthcare system without the introduction of Information Communication and Technology and therefore commended the Gombe State Government under the leadership of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya for launching of the mobile app to enhance the services of GoHealth. He also commended the giant strides recorded by Gombe State in the health sector, especially the revitalization of Primary Health Care Centres across the 114 wards as well as the Governor’s zeal and political will to improve access to qualitative and affordable healthcare as well as ensure Universal Health Coverage.
The Country Lead of the German International Cooporation, GIZ Fatima Zannah said Gombe State has been a pace setter towards the provision of quality healthcare services across the State
She therefore commended Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya for leaving no stone unturned to ensure that citizens of the State access healthcare services at their doorsteps.
She observed that the launch of the GoHealth App in Gombe State is quantum leap in the delivery of real time health services and therefore assured the Government and people of the State that the GIZ will continue to support the efforts of the Gombe State government towards revitalizing the health sector.
The chairman governing board of the Gombe State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency GoHealth Dr. Mohammed Isa Umar said the GoHealth mobile app is a technological innovation aimed at registering beneficiaries from the comfort of their homes to begin enjoying a seamless health care services.
The Commissioner of health Dr. Habu Dahiru had earlier told the gathering that Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has holistically revitalized the health sector to meet with the ever increasing health challenges in the State.
He said the present administration in Gombe State has equally collaborated with international partners to expand the frontiers of health service Delivery at both the primary and Secondary facilities in the State.
He said the establishment of GoHealth has once again reinforced the Inuwa Yahaya led administration’s commitment towards changing the face of health care delivery in the State which has seen the enrollment of over 25 thousand beneficiaries in the scheme.
He said the app will afford beneficiaries the opportunity to interact with service providers with a view to providing health services at the convenience of both the caregiver and the patient.
Some beneficiaries of GoHealth from Shongom and Dukku Local Government Areas and a facility manager from Bambam took turns to eulogise the administration of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya for establishing the Gombe State Healthcare Management Agency GoHealth.
To the beneficiaries, the establishment of GoHealth is the provision of health made easier while the facility manager encouraged the State Government not to roll back its sleeves on the programme
There were goodwill messages from the representative of Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Okara Dogara who also stood in for the Secretary of the Ministerial Oversight Committee of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), UNICEF Chief of Health in Nigeria, Dr Eduardo Celades,Country Lead of German International Cooperation (GIZ), Fatima Hussaini Zanna.
Others who delivered remarks were Executive Director of Legislative Initiative for Sustainable Development (LISDEL), Juliana Abude-Aribo, Founder of Saif Advocacy Foundation, Comrade Alhassan Yahaya Abdullahi.