Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia says the state government is determined to improve life expectancy rate in the state through implementation of healthcare programmes that will increase access to healthcare services.
Ikpeazu made this known on Monday when Mr Onoriode Ezire, the Country Director of Health Policy Plus, a United States Agency for International Development-sponsored programme, paid him a visit at the Government House, Umuahia.
The governor said that the state government was working assiduously to leverage on operational health policies and programmes in facilitating the improvement of the life expectancy of the people of Abia.
He said that the state government was desirous of making the life expectancy rate in Abia to be better than the rate obtainable across the country in the next five years.
Ikpeazu said that the state government had made efforts to establish facilities necessary for the commencement of health insurance scheme in the state.
According to him, some degree of fidelity is needed in establishing Abia Health Insurance Scheme, in terms of providing what people can see.
“We have put in place several health programmes and policies that will compliment the services that will be provided under the scheme.
“We will encourage the people of Abia to embrace the initiative. We are serious and mindful of the fact that the state will benefit from the commencement of health insurance programme,’’ the governor said.
Earlier, Ezire urged the state government to launch the Abia Health Insurance Scheme in order to promote the achievements of universal health coverage in the state.
According to him, Health Insurance Scheme is the most efficient way to improve access to healthcare services in the state, especially in the rural communities.
Ezire said that the scheme would create an avenue for the cost of accessing healthcare services to be reduced through the pool of resources contributed by individuals and state government.
“We are glad that a Board has been constituted for the scheme and most importantly the signing of the Abia Health Insurance Scheme Bill into law.
“From our projections, if this programme kicks off, within one year, the scheme will cover the healthcare needs of over 400,000 people.
“It will scale up massively the access to healthcare services in the state,’’ he said.