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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has organised a 3-day intensive training for officials of Osun and Abia states on the best ways of operationalizationing health insurance schemes in the two states.

The training which is taking place in Ibadan, Oyo state has the top officials and key staff of Osun Health Insurance Scheme (O'HIS) and Abia State Social Health insurance Agency in attendance.

The Chief of Party of USAID Health Finance Governance (HFG) project, Dr Gafar Alawode in his presentations spoke extensively on "health financing within the overall health system" and "understanding the concept of universal health coverage".

He expressed worry that Nigeria has not attained the expected level in spite of its status as the giant of Africa. He said health insurance scheme is a necessary mechanism to achieve the universal health coverage.

He also noted that if the citizens pay tax appropriately and government utilize the money judiciously, more fund should go to the health sector and the healthcare delivery will improve.

Alawode charged the Osun Health Insurance Scheme (O'HIS) and Abia State Social Health insurance Agency (Abia SHIA) to ensure that the schemes cover majority of the people, particularly the rural dwellers and the downtrodden.

The USAID - HFG Health Finance Advisor, Dr Ngozi Okoronkwo in her presentation focusing on Health Financing Functions spoke on key principles of social health insurance in developing economy.

Ngozi highlighted the ongoing health financing reforms in Nigeria and told the participants about the techniques of raising revenue for health, the need to understand the concept of risk pooling and ensuring strategic purchasing of health services.

The USAID - HFG Programme Coordinator in Osun State, Mr Ismailah Abdulkareem said the training was organized to deepen the knowledge and understanding of the participants on health financing concepts and health insurance operations.

According to him, "this workshop was organised to identity all required design element for effective implementation of Osun Health Insurance Scheme (O'HIS) and Abia State Social Health insurance Agency (Abia SHIA) and to acquaint all management staff with operation requirements and guidelines."

He added "It is also intended to develop a comprehensive action plan for operationalization of Osun and Abia states health insurance schemes."

"With this workshop, we hope to acquaint the management and staff of the Osun and Abia states health insurance schemes with designated organizational design and relevant rules, regulations, norms and practices of the health insurance agency," Abdulkareem.

The Executive Secretary of Osun Health Insurance Scheme (O'HIS), Dr Niyi Oginni and his Abia state counterpart, Dr Chidi Ubani commended USAID - HFG for organising the workshop and assured that the lessons learnt would be applied in their respective state so as to achieve the goal.



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