By Samuel Adegoke and Rose Oladele
While many organizations are counting their losses in year 2020, the Oyo State Health Insurance Agency (OYSHIA) is rather counting its gains. From only 86,750 enrollees in December, 2019, the agency has braved all odds to record 130 per cent growth in subscriber base even in a year ravaged by COVID-19 pandemic.
At a period when citizens concentrated on food and other basic survival expenses, just how was this feat attained by the OYSHIA team led by the Executive Secretary Dr Sola Akande? How did OYSHIA make itself a priority for people otherwise oblivious or disinterested in health insurance? How did it break through among low income earners and people with low education in a year that has been marked by job losses and poor economic activities which resulted in poor spending by citizens?
Akande attributed OYSHIA’s surprising success to a number of factors which can be summarized as seizing the opportunities presented by the pandemic, aggressive engagements and massive awareness campaign in the media. He said the agency opened its door wider in 2020 to all relevant stakeholders, adding that his team left its comfort zone to take health insurance campaign to residents’ doorsteps.
He said: “The strategic approach we adopted was to set up Marketing Department which applies the principles of marketing to drive sale of health insurance scheme across Oyo State. We did not stop there, OYSHIA supported its marketing efforts with publicity across media channels to get information about our products to the people that need them. The more people learn about the scheme, the more they enrol to enjoy the benefits.”
Akande added that his team also focused on the informal sector which is largely untapped for the scheme. He said the agency embarked on several engagement activities across cities and communities in Oyo State which affords individuals to seek clarifications on any area they may have questions. OYSHIA was able to engage market women, artisans and trade groups which made the scheme gain confidence of large number of people in the informal sector.
He listed other factors as aggressive advocacy and marketing, establishment of zonal offices, enhancing the Customer Care Unit which resulted in prompt response and resolution of complaints as well as strong media presence.