By Muhammad Hamisu Abdullahi & Usman Gwadabe
Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), a programme sponsored by Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), a UK-Aid supported initiative has recently collaborated with Kano State Contributory Health Care Management Agency (KSCHMA) in conducting a stakeholders’ meeting.
The event, held on Tuesday, September 21, this year, drew participation from the officials of the two bodies, civil society organizations, the media and information and public relations gurus in the state. It was centered on a round table discussion in an effort of both PERL and KSCHMA to increase community awareness and to further sensitise the stakeholders on the implementation of the health care scheme in the state.
It was tagged: ‘Roundtable Discussions with Media Outlet and KSCHMA on the Implementation of Contributory Health Care Scheme in Kano State.’ In her opening remarks during the meeting, the Executive Secretary of the agency, Dr. Halima Muhammad Mijinyawa, reaffirmed that the purpose of the gathering was to really do the sensitization exercise so that the general public would be enlightened more on the operation of the scheme.
She said the scheme was established in 2015 with the sole aim of ensuring affordable healthcare, saying that majority of the civil servants and their families in the state were already accessing care under the scheme.
Also, she said, in the informal sector, individuals have registered and were accessing care under the system.
Dr. Mijinyawa disclosed that the administration of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has so far enrolled all the children’s homes into the scheme, adding that the agency has so far engaged over 500 public and private health facilities in the state. She said the Ganduje administration has provided fund which was used to enroll all the students at the social homes in the state.
She mentioned Torey Home, Remand Home, IDP Camp, Nassarawa Children Home and the Rehabilitation centers as those benefiting in the scheme through the gesture from the state government. The Executive Secretary said the state government has also provided funds to enroll 10,000 pregnant women in addition to other initiatives she mentioned. She thanked PERL, being their partners, for their continued support to the agency.
Dr. Mijinyawa then solicited for more support from the general public to the agency so that it would continue to serve the community better. In his goodwill message, the representative of PERL at the occasion, Malam Auwalu Hamza, said they have, in the organization, a governance pillar, through which they help government and its agencies in entrenching their governance system and processes with the hope that they would remain accountable, responsible and capable in discharging their constitutional responsibilities.
According to him, they were working with various government agencies in the state towards achieving the desired objectives. Malam Hamza also told the gathering that the citizens’ component of the organization works with media, civil society organizations and traditional institution among others, saying that as development partners, they have the resource to help the government in achieving its goals.
He noted that the state government is ready to partner with the UK government to achieve its developmental initiatives, expressing delight that PERL had developed a scheme which helped the state Ministry of Planning and Budget to now have a scientific tool for development, urging government agencies to take the advantages offered by the organization.
Also passing his goodwill message, the representative of Lafiya Programme still under the FCDO, Malam Abubakar Tijjani, the Health System Strengthening Coordinator of the Programme in the state, appreciated the Executive Secretary of the health agency for her commitment in moving the agency forward, describing her as always welcoming to everybody, explaining that they enjoy a very positive partnership with her agency. He stressed the need for effective coverage from the media on the activities of the agency, recommending continued partnership for betterment of the agency in its efforts to take the state to the Promised Land.
In his presentation on ‘Towards Effective Media Coverage of Kano State Contributory Healthcare Scheme – A Brief Guide,’ Malam Inuwa Idris, the Director of Information at the state Ministry of Information, urged the agency to have a well-supported public relation unit or a competent media relation officer in order to project the image of the organization very well and for it to continue to wax stronger. Malam Idris also urged the agency to build an effective media relation for favourable coverage. Other sub-topics he treated included ‘KSCHMA at a Glance,’ ‘Media Presence in Kano,’ ‘Media Relations Strategy,’ and ‘Code of Ethics by the Nigerian Press Council,’ among others.
Another presentation was made on the ‘Overview on KSCHMA,’ by Dr. Abdullahi Ahmad, who said that the agency was established under the state law No. 3 of 2016 with a sole responsibility to manage the scheme, adding that one of the objectives is to ensure all residents of the state have access to effective, quality and affordable health care services. The medical doctor added that the scheme is categorized into formal, informal and equity programmes, adding that natural disasters, epidemics and family planning are not included in the system. In his presentation on ‘Strategies for Evidence-based and balanced Media Reporting,’ by Malam Haruna Adamu Hadejia, he charged journalists and activists not go ahead for the findings on any issue to public without contacting the authority concerned for their input, adding that such approach would make great impacts on the report.
He advised each party to be sincere as they are all serving to ensure accountable and progressive society.
At the end of the workshops five steps were presented and adopted which included marketing strategy among others. Highlight of the event included questions, comments and observations from participants.