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View point: Anambra Health Insurance: Solidarity With Human Family

Since its re-launch on September 14, 2018, over 81,000 persons have registered with the Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme. In terms of the number of enrolment, it is the fourth biggest state health insurance scheme in the country after those of Lagos, Delta and Kano states, which began much earlier.

Anambra, however, is the fastest growing and the one with the highest volume of informal sector players. No state health insurance agency has enrolled as many as 81,000 lives in just a little over a year.

No one is surprised at the growth. With just N12, 000, a person can join the scheme and receive free medical treatment for one year at any of the participating 268 hospitals in the state, including the two teaching hospitals – the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi and Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Teaching Hospital, Amaku, Awka. The treatment includes surgical procedures, some of which ordinarily cost over N300, 000 each.

Wealthy Ndi Anambra have been embracing the scheme. For instance, on January 26, 2020, Daniel Chukwudozie, chairman of both Dozzy Oil and Dozzy Foundation, enrolled 1,000 lives in his hometown, Okija in Ihiala Local Government, amounting to N12m. At the ceremony, the Dozzy chairman was so impressed with the support of the state government for his gesture that he decided to enroll an additional 500 lives, which increased his original sponsorship of N12m to N18m.

A number of successful Okija indigenes at the ceremony, including John Erinne, an engineer and philanthropist, quickly enrolled hundreds of more lives in Okija, bringing the total number enrolled in one day in Okija to 1,350. It is worthy of note that the donors are not resident in the town. They are simply motivated by love of their community and driven by their concern for the less privileged who cannot afford the medical costs in the country. They are, in addition, driven by their belief in the integrity and efficiency of the Anambra State health insurance scheme.

It needs to be pointed out that it is not only very wealthy persons who can pay for individuals and groups in the insurance scheme. There are not-so rich individuals who have embraced what the Anambra State government calls the adoption method by paying for the health insurance of their people.

It costs N12, 000 in a year, that is N1, 000 per month, to register a person with the scheme, so that they can receive good medical treatment for one year in a standard hospital. There are so many individuals around the state who have registered 100 lives, or even fewer, through the adoption method. For instance, the Commissioner for Lands, Mr. Bonaventure Enemali, is one of the first top government officials to do so by enrolling 100 persons from his Nzam community in Anambra West.

Equally, Governor Obiano has just announced the enrolment of all Nigerian Civil War veterans living in the state as well as all members of the Rangers International Football Club of Enugu who played in the seventies and the early eighties. The Civil War veterans and the Rangers players will benefit regardless of their states of origin.

The Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme is arguably the most far-reaching humane initiative of the Obiano administration. There is perhaps nothing as valuable as good health. One remarkable thing about the Anambra Health Insurance Scheme is the quality of service it offers. Governor Obiano and the ASHIA leadership deserve commendation for getting the Anambra deal the best in Nigeria today.

Organizations like churches, professional, trade and market associations should register their members with ASHIA. Let them follow the footsteps of the Anambra State government, which registered all civil servants and teachers on the scheme, as soon as it was launched and they are very pleased today.

Those who can afford it should pay without delay for their indigent relatives, friends and community members the way philanthropists like Dr Chukwudozie of Dozzy Foundation have done for their people. There can hardly be a better demonstration of solidarity with the human family than participation in initiatives like the Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme.

God bless Anambra State, the Light of the Nation.

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