I am highly delighted to flag off this innovative care scheme, marking the commencement of the enrollment of vulnerable persons into the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF). This is a laudable healthcare delivery innovation that centres on comprehensive healthcare for the vulnerable groups. It is yet another visible signpost in our resolve to provide efficient and affordable health care service to all Imo people.

It heralds a brand new chapter, in the history of healthcare in the country as it offers a refreshing assurance that all our people can have access to quality Healthcare delivery, irrespective of their status in life. We must applaud the federal and state governments for collaborating to initiate this noble vision.

The focus of today’s programme is to tighten the bolts and nuts for the smooth take-off, of the basic free healthcare service for the vulnerable groups, defined to include children below the age of 5 years, pregnant women, the elderly, the poorest of the poor and those with disabilities.

I wish to recall that the concern of my administration for these endangered groups, particularly children under the age of 5 years, was well captured in my manifesto and my maiden broadcast to Imo people.

This flag-off, therefore, marks a bold step in the actualization of my administration’s burning desire to carter for the healthcare needs of the vulnerable. It gives practical expression to our determination to reposition healthcare delivery in the State, through our shared prosperity agenda, encapsulated in our 3R mantra of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Recovery. That desire also informed our zeal in launching the mobile clinics that tour around the rural areas to treat the poor and the vulnerable, free of cost.

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The Health Agency, created by Law No.4 of 2018, has provided the legal framework for the implementation of this creative healthcare delivery scheme in the state. The Federal has also through the National Health Act 2014 established the Basic Health Care Provision Fund to cater for the enrollment of vulnerable persons, covering children under 5 years of age, pregnant women, the elderly, persons living with disabilities and the poorest of the poor in our society. These groups are the beneficiaries of the basic healthcare provision fund.

The package will be accessible through the Three Hundred and Five (305) primary healthcare centres in all the wards in the state The centres will serve as the platforms through which the vulnerable groups can access free medical care services under the fund, but only for those enrolled in the scheme. This means that only those enrolled in the scheme will benefit from it.

This underscores the importance of today’s event. It signals the official flag-off of the commencement of the enrollment exercise for the beneficiaries of the scheme. Hereafter the enrollment exercise will continue in all the Local Government Areas of the State

Let me reassure our people that the funds for this lofty health care scheme are already in place courtesy of the federal government’s provision and the state government’s counterpart fund.

I, therefore, urge all those affected to turn out en mass and enrol in the scheme. This is one opportunity our people should not toy with. It is about free, quality health service to the less privileged.

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The health of every Imo person is dear to my administration but I am passionate about the health of the hapless among us. It is the responsibility of all of us to encourage them to enroll with this scheme and be assured of good health at all times and at no cost.

I should add that I am aware that some unscrupulous elements in the public service may be tempted to tamper with the funds meant for this scheme. Such people should think again. Let me make it very clear that anyone caught tampering or attempting to tamper with the funds will be dealt with as mercilessly as our laws permit. Such people shall be deemed guilty of profiting from blood money because they deprived the vulnerable access to good health by stealing from their funds. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

On this note, I gladly flag off the enrollment exercise. Let the registration begin.

Thank you all and God bless

Sen. Hope Uzodimma

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