About Sixty (60) journalists in Plateau State have been registered in the Plateau State Contributory Health Insurance Management Agency (PLASCHEMA), as the Agency buys a year’s premium for the beneficiaries to enable them to have access to timely health care.
The cards were handed over to the beneficiaries in Jos during a quarterly media interface entitled “Leveraging the Media for Sustainable Universal Health Coverage,” by the Director-General of PLASCHEMA, Dr. Fabong Jemchang.
“The interface is very important because the media is at the heart of achieving universal health coverage.
“Importantly, the media is at the forefront of policy formulation and implementation as far as health insurance is concerned. It is impossible to achieve universal health coverage without the media.
“This meeting is called to motivate journalists on how to report health care services using public indices and to call into consideration public health account and to also drive the agenda so that it transforms health care centers for sufficient services,” he stated.
Dr. Jemchang said a survey conducted by the agency showed that approximately 97 percent of Plateau citizens have access to medical services through out-of-pocket expenditures.
He revealed that those 96.8 percent of out-of-pocket expenditure, we have a whopping 78 percent who are daily-income earners such as farmers, traders, and artisans, among others.
“So, accessing health care becomes difficult. That is why we have poor health-seeking behavior.”
He urged political office holders to buy premiums at the cheapest rate of N12, 000 for people rather than investing in what is not beneficial to them. He also noted that “together with the media, we can eliminate poverty, magnifying the need for health care while shrinking the capacity to finance it.”
The Chairman of Plateau State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Paul Jatau acknowledged that such media engagement would go a long way in strengthening the capacity of journalists in health care reportage.