Edo State Government through the State’s Health Insurance Commission conducted a training for healthcare service delivery providers in the state on Edo State Equity Health Plan (EQP), with the aim of deepening health coverage for the vulnerable residents in the state.

The training held at the instance of the commission on Thursday, September 21, at the John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy (JOOPSA) in Benin City.

The training workshop for the health service providers was handled by Edo State Health Insurance Commission (EDHIC) management staff as facilitators, led by Dr. Owen Omorogbe, Director, Planning Research and Statistics, Edo State Health Insurance Scheme (EDOHIS).

The State Equity Health Plan training marks the onboarding of primary and secondary healthcare facilities, as well as served as enlightenment forum for the representatives from approved facilities on the processes and protocols guiding the EQP, in order to ensure effective and efficient services.

According to Dr. Owen, “This is for us a partnership, and in partnership every partner has roles and responsibilities. One of the things that would be emphasized here today are the roles and responsibilities of all partners and stakeholders in this project.”

It is relevant to state that Edo State is committed to ensuring that no one is left behind in its quest for Universal Health Coverage (UHC). In fulfilling this laudable healthcare project, Edo State has its own health program similar to Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) funded by the Federal Government and State Government.

Though both BHCPF and EQP care for the same identified five interest vulnerable priority groups, however, for the Edo Equity Health Plan, funding comes solely from the Edo State Government through the Edo State Health Insurance Commission.

The EQP, a grassroot-community based healthcare plan is designed to provide primary healthcare to the vulnerable persons in the state.

Dr. Owen noted that the vulnerable are people easily exposed to health issues who are at a higher health risk, and they include children under five years, the elderly who are above sixty-five years, pregnant women, persons with disability and the poorest of the poor (the indigents) in our society.

Notably, BHCPF accredited facilities were not invited for the EQP training because the State’s Equity Health Plan facilities are non-BHCPF facilities.

In scaling up the coverage, EDHIC would ensure that all strata of the healthcare system, that is, public and private health facilities are able to render qualitative healthcare service delivery to meet the evolving and dynamic health needs of Edo residents.

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Dr. Owen expressed that, “The state health insurance plan is very integral to our drive towards achieving a universal health coverage.”

He explained that “Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is a global concept that underlines the affordability, accountability, qualitative and effective healthcare provisions to all citizens irrespective of their status in the society without undue financial burden.

Suffice to mention that vulnerable persons are objectively determined using a scientific vulnerability questionnaire tool called the Rapid Poverty Assessment (RPA) tool.

While emphasising on the roles of the EQP facilities in onboarding enrolees which include identify, screen, capture and enrol, Dr. Owen stressed that enrolees should be assigned to facilities they are able to access on a daily basis.

“If you are enrolling someone who is not within your catchment, you are at a dis-service to that person and to the EQP project. Because we expect that for a free intervention, the vulnerable should be glad to utilize that facility as regularly as possible.

“Because on insurance end, there is no way we could justify paying out money to you if these persons ate not utilizing care.

“The point we are making and trying to emphasize here is that we would no longer tolerate situations where you have enrolees at a facility and they are not utilizing care,” Dr. Owen reiterated.

Earlier, in his opening remark, Dr. Rock Amegor, Director General, Edo Health Insurance Commission, while appreciating the health service providers for delivering quality services, and the Edo State Government for the well appreciated health project, said, “If you look all over the world, the only way you can meet various health needs as it relates to pricing, is Health Insurance.”

Key topics addressed during the EDHIC one day knowledge reinforcement and capacity building/training workshop for State Equity stakeholders include: State Equity Health Plan, Enrolment and Onboarding, Quality Improvement, and Value Addition; Fund Management, Accounting and Bookkeeping; Referral and Claims Protocols.

Other topics are Roles and Responsibilities, Infractions and Sanctions; Compliance and Enforcement; Data Tools and Reporting and ICT Protocols.