The Health Insurance Fund Program in Shonga (Kwara North) has reached an important milestone. It is five years ago that the scheme started in this area. Today, nearly 35,000 low-income people have enrolled in the scheme in Kwara North granting them access to quality healthcare in upgraded healthcare facilities. During the celebration the Executive Secretary of the Community Health Insurance Scheme said that the Kwara State Government would like to work with Health Insurance Fund, PharmAccess and their local partner Hygeia to extend health insurance to 60% of the population. This is equal to nearly two million people.
Approximately 1,000 community members, traditional leaders and local politicians attended the successful Shonga celebrations, which is an indicator of the great support and trust in the program, both by the population as by the local leaders. As the former CEO of the Nigerian Health Insurance Scheme described it, the Health Insurance Fund Program has become a blueprint for rolling out community-based insurance schemes in Nigeria. Also, Ban Ki-moon (the UN Secretary-General), during a visit to Nigeria in May 2011, referred to the scheme as ground-breaking and unique due to its emphasis on co-operation between the State Government, the private sector and donors. Only recently the NHIS requested PharmAccess and SafeCare to provide technical assistance to expand health insurance to more than 100 communities in Nigeria based on the results achieved in Kwara State.
The target group of the insurance scheme in Kwara State is the rural farming community of Shonga and its neighboring communities Bacita and Lafiagi, consisting of 7,500 farmers and their families. . The community is led by the local Emir, who actively assists in the organization and mobilization of the community. The annual insurance premium in Kwara for Shonga farmers is approximately $30 per person per year. Scheme members currently pay 8% of the annual premiums themselves. The remaining 92% of the premium is subsidized by the Health Insurance Fund and the Kwara State Government. Hygeia, the local executing partner, has contracted seven healthcare providers in Kwara of which four public and three private. All the providers are subject to quality improvement process defined by SafeCare.