Some philanthropic medical outreaches are dangerous to your health – Anambra Health Insurance boss warns 


The Executive Secretary, Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme, Dr Simeon Onyemaechi, has warned against the dangers of participating in medical outreaches which aggravate citizens’ health conditions and expose beneficiaries to dire consequences.

Dr Onyemaechi, who gave the warning when the Strengthening Public Accountability for Result and Knowledge, SPARK 2 project Advocacy Team in Anambra State visited him in his office in Awka, argued that such outreaches have done more harm than good.

“Most outreaches aggravate the health conditions of the beneficiaries because whatever medications or treatments they give do not last beyond two weeks or one months.

“During such outreach, you give someone BP medicine for two weeks or even one month at most. The person takes it and he/she cannot buy again. There will be what we call ‘rebound hypertension’ that can kill that person. it would have been better you didn’t try to bring down the BP because his/her blood vessels are already trying to adjust to it”.

He tasked the three SPARK 2 implementing agency groups – the Community Empowerment Network (COMEN), the Justice Development and Peace Caritas (JDPC) Nnewi and the Civil Right Concern (CRC), to join ASHIA in educating the people to understand the comparative benefit of enrolling for health insurance rather than embarking on medical outreaches.
“Idemili people living in Houston Texas usually have their medical outreach every year. But, this year, I reached out to one of them, a professor of Family Medicine, Tony Ononye, advising that they rather consider enrolling people into ASHIA. He discussed with his people and we are now working to enroll 750 persons from Idemili into the state health insurance scheme”.

“With 12,000, you can enjoy our services. Despite, the economic realities, we have kept the premium at 12,000 naira. We have also expanded the number of services beneficiaries can access under the scheme, including for Maternal and Child Health” Onyemaechi said assuring the groups of necessary assistance from ASHIA.

“We will be ready to support this project in every way. When I cannot be there in person, my staff will be there. But, in the course of the project, I will appreciate that you educate our people to enroll especially the vulnerable amidst us into ASHIA. It will have better result on the society”.

Earlier, the COMEN Consultant for the SPARK Project, Ugochi Ehiahuruike, said the visit was to procure the buy-in of Dr Onyemaechi for SPARK 2 Project in the State. “We realize how important your agency is in the implementation of the project and particularly, we will be needing your assistance especially in the area of Capacity Strengthening for Ward Development Committees (WDCs) on the implementation of Basic Health Care Provision Fund, (BHCPF).

“We are persuaded that working together, we will be able to ensure that no one is left behind espeicaly the minority groups and vulnerable ones such as the elderly and persons with disabilities, PWDs.

Contributing, the Executive Director, Civil Rights Concern, Okey Onyeka, argued that maternal and child health is a critical area which deserves close attention from the government and non-governmental actors. “This is why SPARK 2 focuses on it. When maternal and child mortality is reduced, the health indices of the state and the country at large must have improved greatly.

“Government budget on maternal and child health is huge and we are of the opinion that every effort should be made to ensure that there is value for money. Like my colleagues have said, we are here to help the government achieve greater results in their service to the people of the state. We shall rely on you to assist us in ensuring that this project succeeds in Anambra.

Giving the brief overview of the SPARK 2 project, the SPARK Program Manager at the JDPC, Nnewi, Onyekachi Ololo, explained that while the first phase of SPARK project focused on water, sanitation and hygiene, the second centres on maternal and child health in 24 communities from six local government areas across the three senatorial districts of the state.

“In doing this, we target the PHCs in those 24 communities but our activities will also affect facilities in other communities. We believe that when people at the grassroots are able to access services, demand for more effective services and hold government accountable, then we will be on the way to achieving universal health coverage by 2030. We are interested in further improving maternal and child healthcare in Anambra State.

The Ward Development Committee Chairperson from Utuh, Nnewi South LGA, Ogoamaka Atuenyi, commended ASHIA for its intervention, especially under the BHCPF, which has increased access to health care services especially for the vulnerable segments of the society. “But, I will plead that you do more than you have already done. You have done well, no doubt about it”, she concluded.

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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