Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has flagged off access to free healthcare services for indigenes of the state.
A total of 15,000 instant beneficiaries under the scheme, tagged, ‘Bello Care’, were unveiled in Lokoja recently.
The programme operated under the Kogi State Health Insurance Agency is aimed at providing quality healthcare services to pregnant women, children under the age of five, people with disabilities and persons above the age of 65.
Governor Bello disclosed that N108million had already been released as take-off fund for the programme as well as N70million counterpart fund paid to the Federal Government.
“In Kogi, health is second in our thematic area. Without heath there can be no wealth. The initiative underlines the importance we place on health and we are not stopping at health alone. Bello Care is not limited to health alone, it spreads to education and security.”
He gave the assurance that the Bello Care programme would not die after his administration and that he would make sure that whoever takes over from him continued from wherever he stopped..
“We have paid 100 per cent for this programme and we will not smile at anyone that tries to profit from the program because it belongs to the vulnerables. Among others, the Bello Cares scheme is expected to cover general consultations (treatment of diseases such as Malaria, Typhoid Fever); ante-natal care, deliveries, post-natal care, paediatrics and surgeries, among others.”
Executive Secretary of the Kogi State Health Insurance Agency, Dr. Kunle Aledare in an address at the event thanked the Governor for making healthcare a core thematic area of the New Direction Government.
Aledare described the Bello Care initiative as one that complements the Federal Government Health Initiative. He added that 38,000 people had been enrolled across the 21LGAs in the state.
He thanked the governor for releasing funds to the tune of N108 million for the take-off of the Health Insurance Programme as well as approving two Toyota Hilux operational vehicles to monitor the Bello Care programme.
Kogi State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Usman Zekeri, said the most vulnerable group does not have access to quality healthcare, owing to ignorance and poverty.
The Health Commissioner said that in partnership with the Federal Government, over 70million counterpart fund had also been paid to access the Federal Government’s Health Initiative.
Zekeri added that the giant strides of Governor Bello in the Health sector made it possible to implement the Bello Care program. He sighted the building of ultramodern hospitals in various parts of the state including the Central Hospital, Okene as a way of turning Kogi State to a Medico Tourism Centre.
He added that plans were underway to capture state civil servants and students of tertiary institutions in the Health insurance program.
In a related development, the governor signed four bills into law at a ceremony in the EXCO Hall of Government House.
In a remarks before signing the bill, Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly,Matthew Kolawole commended the Governor for his very effective security architecture in the State. He assured the Governor of the commitment of the State House of Assembly to make laws for the development of the state.
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