By Jonathan Ugbal; Government House Correspondent
The Cross River State Government has denied claims that it stopped its free medical programs for pregnant women and children under five years of age as the proposed State Health Insurance Scheme which is been implemented has expanded the program to children under 18.
The Director General of the State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Betta Edu stated this Wednesday in Calabar during an interactive session with Government House Correspondents where she donated two television sets to the press corps and called on journalists to continue their positive reportage of the Governor, Senator Ben Ayade which has earned him accolades in his almost 21 months in office.
“This administration continued with the free health initiative for pregnant women and children. In fact, the Ayadecare will expand it further to cover children under 18 years of age.
“What this means is that pregnant women and children under the age of 18 will not pay the stipulated minimum premium of NGN1,000 monthly” Betta said.
She disclosed that the bill is currently been implemented and will kick off shortly after the operational guidelines have been concluded and employment concluded in March.
Also, Betta said the bill will depend heavily on Public Health facilities which was the reason why they were been renovated with Primary Health Facilities been the “entry point and gateway into the health system”.
On Traditional Birth Attendants, Betta said that the guidelines were ready; “and will be presented alongside the Multi Year Operational Plan to the Governor” to ensure that only skilled attendants are allowed to practice and gradually phased out as the state plans to implement the One functional Primary Health Care per ward initiative, the Saving one million lives initiative and the Primary Health Care under one roof policy to enable the state achieve universal health coverage by the end of 2018.
Receiving the TV sets, Chairman of the Correspondents, Alhaji Rasheed Olanrewaju lauded the gesture of Dr. Betta and promised improved reportage of activities.
In a related development, the ongoing audit of workers in the Primary Health Care system in the Cross River State has moved to the central senatorial district with Yakurr, Biase and Abi local government areas to be screened between Wednesday (yesterday) and Friday CrossRiverWatch authoritatively reports.
The 3 local governments are supposed to produce no fewer than 450 staff for screening, sources in the Primary Health Care Development Agency say.
The exercise which is held at the conference hall of the Yakurr local government area saw 196 people screened on Wednesday while less than 150 were given “clearance” to get their biometrics captured by a team engaged by the World Health Organisation who among a few others, back the exercise to ensure a robust health delivery system is put in place.
“This will enable us know the actual number of staff in the system as there will be head count per facility carried out shortly after this” says Dr. Betta Edu, the Director General of the Agency.
Addressing primary health workers, she stressed that; “The attitude some of you put to work is not good. You are not being paid to work when you want but every time” and narrated a situation where she disguised herself into a Primary Health Facility and the staff snubbed her as it was time for her to leave for “other things”.
The workers pledged to carry out their functions effectively and aid every exercise aimed at sanitizing the system for efficiency in the delivery of basic health care to the over 70 percent of Cross Riverians living in the rural areas.
Wednesday’s exercise was however devoid of the drama experienced at Calabar with Dr. Betta lauding the workers for promptly updating their documents and files that gives them the right to practice.