Some workers in Bauchi have expressed concern over the delay in the implementation of health insurance services under the Bauchi State Health Contributory Management Agency (BASHCMA).
A cross-section of the workers, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Monday in Bauchi, said the trend was affecting quality healthcare service delivery in the state.
They spoke against the backdrop of delays in the implementation of health insurance services for the workers since the inception of the agency in 2021.
BASHMA is designed to provide services through the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHPF) for formal and organised private sectors as well as the informal sector including rural dwellers and artisans, among others.
Workers in the state and local government service were expected to contribute two percent of their monthly salaries while legislators and political office holders would contribute five percent to the scheme, respectively.
Mr. Abba Nuhu, a worker, said the delays in the implementation of the programme were preventing them from accessing quality services to improve the health status of their families.
“We are eager to start accessing the insurance services because it will reduce expenses on healthcare.
“Although, it will be a deduction from our monthly salaries, it is fair to manage your bills in time of sickness knowing that such situation comes up unplanned,” he said.
Another worker, Mrs. Naomi Musa decried the high cost of medical bills occasioned by the inflationary trend in the country.
She said that low-income workers could not afford quality services due to exorbitant bills, hence the need for the health insurance coverage to improve their well-being.
“Enhance access to quality healthcare will improve productivity among the workers.
“We want the health insurance scheme to commence so that we access quality services and reduce out-of-pocket expenditure,” she said.
Corroborating Musa, Muhammed Labaran said that workers’ contribution to the scheme would improve funding of the health sector at all levels.
The scheme, he said would reduce dependency among households in seeking for healthcare services and urged the state government to expedite action on the implementation of the programme.
Also, Elizabeth Kah, the Coordinator, Journalists for Public Health and Development Initiative (J4PD), said that health insurance enabled more people to access quality healthcare services.
Reacting, Dr. Mansur Dada, the Executive Secretary, BASHCMA, said the agency had so far enrolled 52,000 workers and their dependants into the programme.
He said the agency also engaged four tertiary, 26 secondary and 323 primary health facilities as well as 13 private clinics to provide services to the enrollees.
According to him, the agency is awaiting the release of the enrollees’ contributions from the state government to facilitate the smooth running of its operations.
“It is only after the remittance to the agency that enrollees can start enjoying the services, and we can also continue with the enrolment exercise,” he said.