By Emmanuel Adeleke
The Executive Secretary, Oyo State Health Insurance Agency (OYSHIA), Dr. Sola Akande, has disclosed that the state is the first in Nigeria to have a formal health insurance programme for retirees.
Akande made the disclosure in an interview with newspeakonline.
He said: “I remember from the beginning of this scheme, actually four years ago that we had meeting with labour union, the Nigerian Union of Pensioners was represented at that meeting and they asked me a question. They said everything that I’ve been talking about is for people that are still in service. I remembered that it was Comrade Abass that rose up and say, ‘what is your plan for pensioners?’
“And I said sir, I will not deceive you, we don’t have a plan for you now because this is a noble scheme. The number of enrollees was still very low. If we bring you in, utilisation will go up because there is no retiree that does not have one issue or the other that we’re taking constantly to the hospital.
“So, if the number of retirees will be more than the people that are in lower age bracket, the scheme will die. It was a painful thing that time but he realised that I was truthful. I did not lie. But one thing is that we did not forget that we want to do something for the elderly.
“Four years down the line, that opportunity came. So, when we started our community-based, it just occurred to us that, look, why can’t we relate to pensioners as community? And I got to know that their statistics is nothing less than 30,000. I said, so we have another community, so we are able to adopt our strategy for our community-based for pensioners.
“And that is why today, Oyo State is the first state in Nigeria that has a formal programme for the retirees.”
Akande, who said OYSHIA has now become a household name, stressed that two to three states have called him that they are coming for study tour.
“They want to see how we started, the strategy behind it,” he added
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