By Samuel Adegoke
Traders, artisans, market leaders and members of the informal sector in Oyo state have indicated their readiness to embrace the Oyo State Health Insurance Scheme as a way of tapping into affordable healthcare in the state.
They made the declaration at a one-day sensitisation programme organized by the Oyo State Health Insurance Agency (OYSHIA) in collaboration with associations of market men and women in the state. The market leaders said they were adopting the scheme as a way of encouraging their members across the state to spend less on maintaining their health in view of the difficulties associated with their trading activities.
The stakeholders meeting which held at the Western Hall, Oyo State House of Assembly Complex, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, had in attendance market leaders council including the Babaloja General of Oyo State, Asiwaju Yekinni Oladapo; President, Canteen Workers Association, Mrs Amudalat Iyaduuni Lawal and President, Tradesmen and Artisan Association, Mr Yisau Hamzat.
Others are President, Oyo State Association of Traders in Nigeria, Mrs Stella Olabode; President, Ibadan Joint Traders Association, Mr Dauda Oladepo; President, Joint Traders of Oyo State, Mrs Labake Lawal and State President, Nigeria Youth Traders Action International, Mr Najimudeen Azeez, among others.
Setting the tone for the commitment, the Babaloja-General, Yekini Abass, assured the government of the support of market men and women in the state, noting that the issue of health is important and must be taken with utmost seriousness.
Other speakers in their various remarks explained that many traders engage strenuous efforts which, in the long run, tell on their health but would only take it seriously when they breakdown and unable to go out.
The leaders, who commended OYSHIA for enlightening them on the numerous benefits accruable in the scheme which attract affordable enrollment fee, pledged their commitment and support for the scheme, promising to encourage their members to buy into the health insurance scheme.
Speaking on the reason behind the initiative, the Executive Secretary (ES), OYSHIA, Dr Sola Akande, explained that it is imperative for the market men and women in the state to embrace the scheme in order to live a healthy life, in accordance with the Governor Seyi Makinde-led administration’s health plan for the citizens of the state.
He said the agency was happy to bring various associations and groups on board the scheme, describing the idea as “community enrolment”.
Dr Akande said: “You can see that the newly sworn-in chairman, the Babaloja-General of the market associations is in attendance, that shows the commitment; all the leaders are on board. So, it’s a symbolic marking of the fact that we are bringing all market associations in Oyo State into the scheme.
“It is quite significant that the traders were not only enlightened about the scheme, but they also mobilized and encouraged themselves to enrol into the scheme, an action which is highly encouraging for the agency.”
He disclosed that the agency would meet various associations, from one town to another to create and sustain awareness among community dwellers and encourage them with a unique idea for them to get agents, among themselves, which would become a sort of business for them. Agents will receive commission over every enrollee brought into the scheme by them.”
Since inception in 2017, OYSHIA now has about 200,000 enrollees who have no reasons to worry about funding bills whenever they need medical attention.