By Ralph Madugu
In its effort towards securing community sustainability, the Plateau State Contributory Healthcare Agency, PLASCHEMA has put in place a quarterly interface with stakeholders in the state.
PLASCHEMA is a health insurance agency created by the Plateau State Government in 2019 with the goal of ensuring that every resident of the state has equitable access to quality and affordable healthcare services when the need arises.
At one of such meetings recently held with journalists in the state, Director General of PLASCHEMA, Dr. Fabong Jemchang, said that it was due to the key role the media plays in information dissemination and influencing behavioural change, that the agency organized an interface with journalists.
“It is true that the media plays a critical role towards achieving Universal Health Coverage through providing information (preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative) to people at large. This boost acceptance of any idea and creates interest.
“The power of the media in setting the agenda for governance. He also noted that the media have the power to set and direct our attention towards certain issues in society, particularly in the place of feedback.”
During the occasion, held at the Crest Hotel in Jos, Dr. Jemchang acknowledged that achieving universal health coverage could not be attained without the media, adding that the organization would ensure access to affordable, equitable, timely and quality healthcare for all residents irrespective of their socio-economic status.
He disclosed that more than 3.5 million people in the state were suffering from what he tagged “catastrophic” out-of-pocket expenses on healthcare, adding that such expenses were shrinking family incomes and spreading poverty.
Jemchang explained that, so far, the agency had enrolled 28,565 beneficiaries into its Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) with 11,398 enrolled as principal beneficiaries and 31,460 dependents into its Social Health Insurance Scheme (PSHIS), including 340 informal beneficiaries.
He stated that, unlike the PSHIS which attracts premium from self-registered beneficiaries, the BHCPF established under the Nigerian Health Insurance Act 2014 exists to provide free healthcare to the “poorest of the poor” and vulnerable groups in the state. The one-day interactive session provided avenue for media practitioners drawn from both print and broadcast media to ask questions on the goals, vision, functions and levels of access to healthcare under PLASCHEMA.