Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.

At least fifty percent of the residents of Enugu State would enroll into the state health insurance scheme before 2024, according to the executive director of the Enugu State Universal Health Coverage, Dr Edith Okolo.

Speaking with journalists on Friday in Enugu, Dr Okolo said, “We expect that by the time I am rounding off my tenure, at least I would have enrolled more than fifty percent of Enugu residents into the universal health coverage scheme. That is my target. Already we have enrolled over 10, 000 persons. Yes, they are yet to start accessing the services, but the enrolment has started. From about 45 primary health care facilities in eight local government areas in the state, we have enrolled just a little bit over 10, 000 persons. But what you find is that a majority of the people who are enrolling now are people who are attending these facilities. A majority of them are already ill for one thing or the other. Some of them are pregnant women and children under five years of age.”

Dr Okolo urged residents of the state to embrace the scheme to ensure good living. In her words, “The first point of call for any health matter is the primary health care. Therefore, we are telling Enugu residents to go to the closest primary health care centres around them and get enrolled. They will collect their data. On our part, we go to these centres to capture the data. After that, we issue them with ID cards, and then they can access the services.”

On the support the agency enjoys from the state government, Dr Okolo said, “First of all, you have to think about the building, staffers, equipment, funding, systems, among others. We started from the scratch. We started from few rooms where we were squatting, but His Excellency, in his magnanimity, has allocated a befitting building to us. He also made available to us N200m to help us to put the equipment in place.

“At the same time, we are getting staff seconded from other agencies. When we started, it was like we were behind other southeastern states. But beyond Anambra State, we probably have passed other states in the Southeast zone. Our governor, seeing the importance of the scheme, released the take-off grant to help establish the system. That alone has moved us sporadically. We simply have every support of the state, courtesy of Gov Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s health sector agenda.”

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