The Women’s Health and Action Research Centre (WHARC) has launched Woman/Child Health fund Programme (Osusu) – a “Community Health Insurance Scheme” in Okpekpe, Estako East Local Government Area and Ewatto in Esan South Local Government Area, both in Edo state. The launching which took place simultaneously in both communities on Saturday 31st March, 2018, was during the 2018 celebrations of Okpekpe Day in Etsako East LGA and and Ewatto Day in Esan South East LGA.
The woman/child health fund program is part of the intervention for the implementation research project geared towards increasing women’s access to skilled pregnancy care in rural communities in Edo by the Women’s Health and Action Research Centre (WHARC) in collaboration with the University of Ottawa, Canada, and funding from International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada.
Community members who enroll for the program can call the healthcare provider in the nearest Primary Healthcare Centre for free to have access to medical care, health advice and quick transportation service whenever they need to visit the health centers. This is to reduce delay in getting to the PHC when in labour, and reduce deaths during emergency should complications arise. They will also have access to affordable antenatal care, child delivery services, and life-saving drugs which is supported by the Drug Revolving Funds (DRFs); as well as transport service to transfer to a secondary or tertiary hospital in case of complications
The Principal Investigator of the implementation research project, Prof. Friday Okonofua who chaired the launching of the woman/child health fund program said it is a form health insurance which will allow families in the communities who have women within reproductive age and children under the age of five years to enroll by contributing a monthly token and in turn get access to affordable maternal and child healthcare services. Prof. Okonofua urged the people to be committed to the funds as it will entitle them to free quality healthcare services, adding that “We don’t want women and babies to die at birth.” According to the renowned Prof of Obstetrics and Gynecology, “we came to your community to ask question on why women are not accessing health care services using different methods. Some of the reasons were lack of transportation, insufficient drugs, lack of health personnel in the healthcare centres, and more. So we have decided to work with the Ward Development Committee in your community and they will take charge of the implementation of this project”.
The Clan Head of Okpekepe Kingdom, HRH Apa Peter Abalume Osigbemeh speaking at the event, said that he is passionate to work with WHARC to increase access to skilled healthcare in his community, hence his community is renovating a building to accommodate the health personnel that will be provided for the Primary Healthcare Centre while dedicating the sum of N500, 000 (five hundred thousand) for the Drug Revolving Funds. He emphasized that the Ward Development Committee (WDC) will manage the DRF independently and advised them to be transparent, accountable and honest in the management of the program to achieve the goals so as not to disappoint the people and the sponsors. He added that his palace will have an oversight of the health fund. The Ward Development Committee (WDC) was set up with members from the various communities in Okpekpe ward to facilitate the proper utilization of the funds and sustainability of the program.
The fund-raising event was aimed at encouraging community members to step forward to improve the healthcare delivery of their hometown. Their financial contribution is to show that they are interested and that they care for the success of the program . Donations / contributions will continue, therefore donations will be gratefully received at all times.