By Our Correspondent
As part of efforts aimed at ensuring access to efficient and quality healthcare by the citizenry, Cross River State governor, Senator Ben Ayade yesterday announced the establishment of a social health insurance scheme.
Under the scheme, all taxable adults may be required to make a monthly contribution of N1000, which would guarantee them free treatment for ailments, including even operations that would otherwise have cost some millions of naira.
Ayade who disclosed this shortly after inspecting the Calabar Specialist Hospital currently under construction at the Summit Hills, Calabar, said an executive bill would soon be sent to the House of Assembly for consideration.
“This effort will provide secondary and tertiary support health services for our people while ensuring that the rich pay for the poor,” Ayade said, adding that “this will put an end to a situation where money has taken over the life of man.”
Governor Ayade who noted that medicine should not be for profit but for service, disclosed that the world-class technology-driven hospital should be ready in the next six months.
When completed, the governor said the facility will be another addition to the panoply of the tourism offerings of the state in the form of medical tourism.
In a related development, Ayade also announced plans by his administration to site a pharmaceutical company in the state, which he said would be in operation in the first quarter of 2017.
Ayade stated this when he conducted the would-be investors, Healthage Nigeria limited, along with some of his commissioners on an inspection of the proposed project site along the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Bypass, close to the Calabar Garment factory in Calabar.
According to the governor, the initiative emanated from not only the conceptualization of the deep seaport and the superhighway, but the peace and tranquility in the state, an attribute he said attracted large foreign participation at the just concluded Carnival Calabar, culminating in investors pouring into the state.
“Carnival is not to dance around but also a marketing platform, even as the deep seaport and superhighway are already attracting a lot of business investors. We are poised to reconstruct our state to move it from dependence on public sector and federation account to an economy that is industrially-driven,” Ayade explained.
The governor disclosed that Pakistan with a population of 180 million people, and India are being celebrated for manufacturing high quality drugs that are WHO certified. This feat, he noted must be achieved in the state through the establishment of the pharmaceutical company.
“Cross River will always remain a leading example particularly in this industrial age”, Ayade said, adding that “this is why I am going around ministries inspecting commissioners, because as they instil discipline on their workforce, we have a workforce that is prepared to drive an industrially-driven economy.”
Reiterating his administration’s resolve to support investors, the governor said: “we are ready to support any investor including the provision of land. Government will not ask you to pay anything, it is a new business model. The factory is ours and belongs to our land.”
Earlier, the Director, Operations, Healthage Nigeria limited, Farhan Ahmad Khan expressed his firm’s readiness to carry out the job aimed at emulating Pakistan in showcasing WHO approved factory with registered products from NAFDAC.
He said the pharmaceutical company will among other things, prevent capital flight by producing drugs that are hitherto being imported into the country.
According to him, it was unacceptable for a country like Nigeria with a population of over 180 million to continue to import 90 percent of required drugs with a paltry 10 percent produced locally.
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