From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Delta State Government on Friday flagged-off the enrollment of residents displaced by ravaging flood into the state contributory health scheme.
Over 25,000 people across the 12 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps are expected to captured into the scheme, which already has about 1.2 million enrollees.
Director General of the Delta State Contributory Health Scheme (DSCHS), Dr. Ben Nkechika, alongside the Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, flagged off the exercise at the Onne IDP camp in Asaba.
Unlike other enrollees, the state government would be responsible for the payment of the premium for the flood victims, according to Dr. Nkechika
He added that the beneficiaries would continue to enjoy free healthcare services, even after leaving the camp, in the next one year.
Nkechika said the essence was to provide accessible healthcare to all residents of the state irrespective of socio-economic status or geographical location.
He said the enrollment of the flood victims would be family-based, comprising of father, mother and children, noting that the health plan also cover referrals to secondary and tertiary heath facilities depending on the medical condition.
“What they have here in the camp is limited in terms of capacity to give them the needed care. So there will be need for them to be refered out of here to bigger hospitals where significant healthcare challenges can be attended to.
“And the problem now is that because of their displaced situation, loss of property and so many other things, their economic ability to meet the healthcare needs outside of this environment will be seriously challenged.
“So we are here to register them into the scheme. The government will pay the premium, they would be given ID cards and if they have any medical condition beyond the capacity of the clinic here, they would be refered to any of the private or government hospital within the state and their healthcare services would be free, they don’t have to pay.
“Even when they leave the camp, they are going to their locations, they are obviously displaced, their condition is not going to immediately improve. They will be able to fend for themselves, reconstruct their houses but they will not be able to provide healthcare service to themselves until they significantly improve economically, this programme will cover them until they get back, they can continue to use this access to healthcare still free of charge for one year,” he said.
On his part, Aniagwu said while the state government was very concerned about the welfare of the flood victims, significant attention was also being paid to their health needs.
Aniagwu said Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had gone round the camps to provide relief materials, “bit the governor believes that man does not live by bread alone that is having food and where to lay your head.
“And by the time they leave this camp, it is possible for them to take care of their healthcare needs. these are persons that are rich and government needs to meet them halfway.
“When they get back, there will be challenges, government may not be begin to rebuild their homes.
“Government will not be in a position to do a number of things for them. But Okowa has said health is wealth, there is need to be healthy for them to begin to engage in other things to enable them get back and integrate back into their society.”
Some of the beneficiaries who spoke, thanked the state government for taking their health care need as priority.
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