The World Health Organization Country Representative (WR) Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo has commended His Excellency, Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike on signing the Contributory Health Protection Programme Bill into law.
A statement issued by Special Assistant to the Governor on Media Kelvin Ebiri, indicated that, the Governor, who signed the bill into law at the Government House, Port Harcourt, on 21 June 2021, said with the law, residents and people of the state who want health insurance could now participate in the scheme.
He urged civil servants in the state to leverage on the Contributory Health Protection Programme to boost their health status, adding that the Public Procurement (amendment) Law, as passed by the State House of Assembly, would enable the state government to fulfil its obligations to the people of Rivers State.
It could be recalled that Dr Mulombo visited Governor Wike in Port Harcourt on 26 April 2021. In his prayers to the governor during the meeting, the WR tabled three major requests: The signing of the Rivers State Contributory Health Protection (RIVCHPP) Programme Bill into law; Strengthen continuity of quality essential health services; Provision of 5 genexpert machines to ensure adequate diagnosis of TB in all the LGAs and recruitment of health work force in the state to boost provision of health care in the state.
While still at the Government House, the WR secured the Governor’s commitment to immediately sign the Rivers State Contributory Health Protection (RIVCHPP) Programme Bill into law to offer financial protection to the people to access health services thereby improving Universal Health Coverage. The signing of the Bill into law is the culmination of the Governor’s promise to expedite action on the requests made by the Dr Mulombo.
The arduous journey towards enactment of the Rivers State Contributory Health Protection Programme Law started with the setting up of a Technical Committee in June 2016 by the State Ministry of Health and a Memorandum to State Executive Council in September 2016. Between 2017 and June 2021, it has taken the effective collaboration of the State Health Financing Unit and Technical Working Group, State Executive Council, State Judiciary, State House of Assembly, and key development partners including the USAID and WHO to make it a reality.
“With the enactment of Rivers State Contributory Health Protection Programme Law No. 3 of 2020, the WHO will continue to provide technical support to Government, to ensure that millions of people in Rivers State who currently pay out-of-pocket for health services will subsequently become covered and have access to quality health services, where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship”, Dr Mulombo said.