The Speaker of the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke has said that the state legislature will partner the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in its quest to pass the state health insurance scheme law.
The Speaker said this in Uyo when he received a delegation of the NHIS who paid him a courtesy visit.
He said the house decided to grant audience to the NHIS team “because we need to have more of expert touch to what we have started to do”, referring to the state health insurance scheme law which he said has reached a significant legislative stage.
Hon. Luke who used the opportunity to inform the NHIS team that Governor Udom Emmanuel remains very passionate about good healthcare delivery in the state, said healthcare is a primary component of government’s social services responsibility to the people.
He noted that it was in this light that the house ensured that provision was made for free medical care for pregnant women, children, and the elderly in the 2016 appropriation law. The Speaker said the current effort has to be strengthened and that “the only way to support it is with necessary legislation”.
Emphasising on the need for universal health coverage, the Speaker said “the cost of healthcare is borne totally by individuals and it is not supposed to be so.”
He said an insurance scheme provides the opportunity to spread the cost of healthcare delivery, with the promise that technical inputs will be sought from the NHIS during the public hearing on the state health insurance bill.
Speaker Luke had during the 2016 annual general meeting of the Nigeria Medical Association in the state in August assured that the House was soon going to pass laws establishing the State Health Insurance Scheme and the Primary Healthcare Development Agency.
Earlier in her remarks, the Assistant General Manager of the NHIS, Ms. Vivian Iwebo, said her team was in the assembly to seek partnership with the lawmakers on areas where they could set up necessary legislation what would enable Akwa Ibom people to benefit more from the NHIS.