Niger State Governor and Chairman, North Central States Governors Forum (NCSGF), Abubakar Sani Bello has decried the low level of patronage of the State Contributory Healthcare Scheme.
Bello stated this while receiving a report/presentation of the end-of-year review and performance of the State Primary Healthcare Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Minna, the state capital.
He blamed the development on a lack of adequate awareness, and confidence in the system because when they pay for premium services they don’t get value for their money.
“People are somewhat cynical because they do not have confidence in the system that when they pay for premium services they don’t get value for their money.
“We are hopeful that when people begin to enjoy the benefits, more and more will register and also, the whole scheme is relatively new to the people unlike elsewhere in the world where it is fully operational and even mandatory,” he explained.
Bello acknowledged that the health sector requires huge investment and lots of resources, adding that the solution is to ensure that the system fully integrates the healthcare system and funds it adequately.
He also assured that the state government will continue to engage and fulfill its obligations to development partners and donors, especially with the Gates Foundation, while commending relevant stakeholders in the health sector for ensuring that government succeeds in the execution of the primary health care policies.
Earlier, the state Commissioner of Health and Hospital Services, Dr. Mohammed Makusidi said commitment and passion are some of the criteria and prerequisites the partners and donors look at before they oblige to support any state or country while listing achievements and successes recorded by the state government through the Gates Foundation.
Also, the Executive Director of the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Ibrahim Dangana in his presentation said the MoU, which ran between 2017 to 2021, was aimed at strengthening government health sector stewardship and leadership, reduce out of pocket health expenditure with the establishment of the insurance scheme amongst others.