A’IBOM ASSEMBLY PASSES STATE HEALTH INSURANCE AGENCY, SCHEME BILL

The Akwa Ibom State House Of Assembly has passed the bill for a law establishing the Akwa Ibom State Health Insurance Agency And Scheme.

This brings the total amount of bills passed by the house in the last legislative year to 15 out of a total of 40 bills presented.

The law which was sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke and 11 others, seeks to provide health insurance which shall entitle insured persons and their dependents to the benefits of prescribed good quality and cost effective health services as set out in the law. It also establishes an agency for the management and control of the scheme.

Passing the bill into law Tuesday, Speaker,Rt.Hon. Onofiok Luke said “the fact that this house believes that every Akwa Ibom citizen deserves access to good and affordable healthcare services. Also, experts aver that the domestication of the health insurance scheme will not only spur equitable distribution of healthcare costs among different income groups; it will also protect families from the hardship of huge medical bills.

He added that the state “cannot guarantee sustainable development until we are able to holistically guarantee improved healthcare services through making available laws that will guarantee government’s insurance in the health sector. It is for this reason that this house thought it imperative to create a health insurance scheme and an agency to manage the scheme.”

Below is the full remarks of the Speaker at the passage of the bill.

Remarks by the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke, at the passing into law of the Akwa Ibom state Health Insurance Agency and Scheme bill today, Thursday 1st June, 2017

Distinguished colleagues, you would agree with me that the law we have just passed is yet another in our recent legislations to achieve universal health coverage for Akwa Ibom people. The fact that the current administration in Akwa Ibom state runs on the blueprint of sustainable development makes quality, affordable, and accessible healthcare for the people a major issue of concern for government. This is in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 which is to achieve universal health coverage including financial risk protection.

Many reasons prompted the bill for the health insurance and agency law. First is the fact that this house believes that every Akwa Ibom citizen deserves access to good and affordable healthcare services. Also, experts aver that the domestication of the health insurance scheme will not only spur equitable distribution of healthcare costs among different income groups; it will also protect families from the hardship of huge medical bills. Indeed, we cannot guarantee sustainable development until we are able to holistically guarantee improved healthcare services through making available laws that will guarantee government’s insurance in the health sector. It is for this reason that this house thought it imperative to create a health insurance scheme and an agency to manage the scheme.

Distinguished colleagues, There is no doubt the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals are ambitious. To make them a reality we must in our own capacity, begin to think innovatively about inclusive approaches to providing affordable health services in addressing the challenges of affordability of the this services to the most vulnerable of our society. Hence the law we have just passed.

Let me thank the chairman of the committee on health, Hon. Monday Eyo, and members of that committee for a thorough job done on this bill. I also wish to thank administrators and stakeholders within the state health industry especially those from the state ministry of health and nongovernmental organizations whose contributions were central to the outcome of this law. I must commend all of you for such an unprecedentedly expeditious legislative action.

I agree completely with the health committee that this law will ensure that health coverage reaches out to the poor and vulnerable groups. It will be critical in the fight against HIV/AIDS and other ailment which are currently plaguing the larger majority of low income earners in the state. Distinguished colleagues, the law which we have just passed will help us attain a more transparent health management in our state.

At this point, Akwa Ibom people will count on the wisdom of the state executive to appoint competent hands into the management role of the agency which this law has just created. We believe and trust that His Excellency the Governor will bring his professionalism to bear in engaging personnel who will ensure the smooth running of the Akwa Ibom State Health Insurance Scheme for the benefit of the generality of Akwa Ibom people.

Permit me to use this medium to appreciate him for making budgetary to the sum of 600m for the take off of the health insurance scheme in the state. I am sure this will help the scheme take off smoothly.

I thank you.

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