Council authorities in Dutsenma local government area of Katsina have bought health insurance for at least 15,000 local residents considered indigent in the ongoing national rollout of community-based health insurance (CBHI).
Dutsen-ma is only the second council area to buy into the CBHI, run by the National Health Insurance Scheme, after Isanlu last December.
Speaking at the flagoff, at a community health centre in Dutsen-ma, NHIS acting executive secretary Abdulrahman Sambo the scheme "will support one local government per state on the basis that communities have people who are willing."
He added it would make the programme sustainable if individuals could buy their health packages without necessary dependence on NHIS.
Katsina state governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema, who flagged off the CBHI, said the programme was a "paradigm shift in health care provisioning anchored on protecting and supporting the poor."
Dutsen-ma council chairman Babangida Habibu said "all ailments peculiar to the community are covered" in the insurance, including major illnesses for which residents visit hospital.
The council is paying premiums as low as N150 a month for the 15,000 in its care. Coverage for nearly 2,000 others is paid for by a lawmaker.
Habibu insisted the payments would continue even after his tenure, as the council had make the insurance a point of law.
He further said money for drug purchases is handled by a board of trustees, which decides drugs to purchase for Dutsen-ma.