The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has earmarked N11.3bn to strengthen the state’s healthcare system and provide quality healthcare services to Edo people in 2021.

While N1 billion will be expended on contribution to the State Health Insurance Scheme, the other N10.3 billion will be used to strengthen the critical institutions and systems required to effectively provide affordable and quality healthcare service to the people.

The governor, in a statement, reassured that his administration will build a total of 250 primary health care centres across the 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state in the next one and half years.

Obaseki noted that the 2021 budget, which was recently presented to the state’s Assembly, is primed at strengthening the state’s healthcare system across board, sustaining gains in the education and social sectors and providing needed stimulus to drive food security, supporting the weak and vulnerable in our society and actively engaging our youths.

According to him, “The new design is that, with the pilot building of 20 primary health care centres for each local government to test it and the expansion to about 60, our hope is to get about 250 PHCs in the next one and half years.”

Obaseki added: “Bracing from the strain on the healthcare sector by the coronavirus pandemic, we now have a workable model for responding to demand for affordable and comprehensive healthcare services.

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“This is in line with our plan to roll out the Edo State Health Insurance Scheme. With the scheme, Edo people would by contributing a meagre sum have access to quality healthcare across the state.

“Aside that this would reduce out-of-pocket expenses on healthcare, it would provide a robust base for affordable, quality healthcare across board, lure private investment to the state and unlock the potential of the sector to respond to the needs of Edo people.”

The governor further noted: “We intend to strengthen the critical institutions and systems required to effectively provide affordable and quality healthcare service to our people. In the light of this, we are committing more resources to the facilitate Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) operations and access to medicare for low income and lower middle-class households in the state. We are also providing for palliatives and hazard allowance, procurement of medical equipment for COVID-19 treatment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).

“In supporting a robust response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we would be reinforcing structures to support provision of effective and efficient medicare at the Local Government Area (LGA) level.”

“This would be done through provision of infrastructure at PHCs and General Hospitals with a view to supporting COVID-19 Response teams at the LGA level,” he added.