Dr. Shola Akande is the Executive Secretary of Oyo State Health Insurance Agency (OYSHIA). In this interview with CHIOMA UMEHA he discusses the establishment of OYSHIA, Oyo State Government plan to use the scheme to expand access to healthcare for citizens, especially to curb maternal and child mortality, to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for citizens, among others.
Establishment of Oyo State Health Insurance Agency (OYSHIA)
Oyo State Health Insurance Agency (OYSHIA) was inaugurated about 20 months ago and we have been able to enroll about 100,000 residents of Oyo State. Actually, the establishment of OYSHIA is backed by law, which was signed by the Governor of Oyo State, Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
The law states that direct insurance in Oyo State is compulsory for every residence to follow and so, today we have both formal and informal workers enrolled in the scheme.
About 100,000 enrollees that have benefitted immensely on this scheme and consequently, some people that have been delivered even through caesarean section without additional sum from the premium they paid.
Other medical interventions, which citizens benefited from include appendicitis, orthopaedic, surgery, among others, all in the last 18month that OYSHIA started operations. Not only that, through the scheme, a lot of health facilities have been renovated, equipped and we have constant supply of drugs to those facilities.
Not only that, through the facilities we engaged about 35 doctors that are working in those health centres. In other words, citizens in Oyo State have benefitted, various facilities have benefitted and of course, health workers too have benefitted from the scheme because they now have a better environment to practice their profession.
The target of OYSHIA in the next six months is to reach about 400 to 450,000 people which is about five per cent of the population of Oyo State. For us to reach that particular target, we need the cooperation of the media practitioners.
Advantages of health insurance
One of the major benefits of health insurance is that it changes your health-seeking habit, making you to see your medical doctors even when nothing is actually wrong with you. Not only that, it gives you the opportunity to ask questions, it raises issues because you paid a premium and that is crucial.
What makes us to talk about these things is that healthcare is not curative alone; it is also preventive and under OYSHIA, we are doing so much of prevention because that is the way medicine is going all around the world. People are not just talking about care any longer; they are focusing a lot on prevention. This is so because is cheaper to prevent illnesses than to cure, even in health insurance. That is how the money in those health facilities are protected so that we will be able to take care of serious illnesses whenever they occur.