By Ralph Madugu
In its resolve to ensure that no one is left behind in efforts towards achieving universal health coverage and provision of quality and affordable healthcare services whenever the need arises, the Plateau State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency, PLASCHEMA, has sustained its periodic interface with the media, one of its key stakeholders, with the aim of decentralizing information to rural communities using the various media of mass communication.
During the 2023 first quarter interface with journalists drawn cross the print and electronic media, participants emphasized on the need to decentralize information on healthcare to the grassroots to enable inhabitants become more aware of how and where to access health care whenever the need arises.
Focusing on the theme “Decentralizing Information for Inclusive Participation in Health Insurance,” participants recommended the use of approaches in decentralizing information on inclusive participation in accessing health insurance.
As a corporate body established by Plateau State Government, PLASCHEMA is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that all residents of the state have access to needed promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative health services so as to ensure that they do not suffer financial hardship when paying for services.
Speaking on decentralizing information for inclusive participation in Health Insurance, Mr. Yakubu Taddy, Director of News and Current Affairs, Plateau Radio Television Corporation, posited that, for universal health coverage to be achieved, information on health must be disseminated down to the lowest level in society.
According to him, the lack of adequate information on healthcare has resulted in more people resorting to traditional medicine, hesitancy and reluctance of rural dwellers to positive changes in healthcare delivery, including health insurance.
In a slide presentation on a new communication model designed by PLASCHEMA, Mr. Solomon Kwakfut explained that it was an indication of a paradigm shift by the agency to “de-emphasized PLASCHEMA and emphasize health insurance,” especially among the rural populace.
He added that, without purposeful communication, there cannot be meaningful development in society, hence the need for a communication model that is participatory.
Earlier in his remarks, Director General of PLASCHEMA, Dr. Jemchang Fabong, said that the agency thought it wise that decentralization of information is the best way to inclusion, adding that exclusion of the media has a backlash as far as the attainment of universal health coverage is concerned.
He added that the media occupies a central place in ensuring universal health coverage. During the interface, participants dissolved in syndicate groups to brainstorm and bring up innovations on how to harness and adequately utilize the various media platforms, including the traditional and the new media for effective decentralization of information on access to health services.