Exclusive Interview With Dr Uchenna Ewelike, the Executive Secretary/CEO of Imo State Health Insurance Agency

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Arise Africa Exclusive Interview With Dr Uchenna Ewelike, Public Health Physician and Health Economist. Excerpts

Q: May we know you, Sir?

A: I am Uchenna Ewelike, MBBCh, PhD, the Executive Secretary/CEO of Imo State Health Insurance Agency. I am a Deputy Director with the National Health Insurance Authority Headquarters in Abuja, seconded to the Imo State Government on the request of His Excellency, Senator Hope Uzodimma, the Governor of Imo State.

Q: What is Imo Health Insurance Agency?

A: The Imo State Health Insurance Agency is an agency of the government established by Law 4, 2018 with the mandate to ensure accessible, affordable and quality healthcare services to Imo residents.

Q: What exactly, do we do here?

A: We ensure people of Imo State have access to quality healthcare services through health insurance. This way, they can avoid suffering financial hardships associated with out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.

Q: Can you shed some light on where we are now?

A: Currently, we have just commenced access to care for the 37,323 civil servants already empanelled into our database. On the other hand, we have concluded the second phase of the BHCPF enrollment followed by immediate activation of access to care for BHCPF enrollment 2.0 lives. Imo Care which is designed to cover the informal sector population to commence by December.

Q: All these, how sustainable are the projects embarked upon by the agency?

A: The sustainability of the programs is firstly enshrined in the Law that birthed the establishment of the Agency, Imo State Law No. 4, 2018.

And secondly, the existence of political will and technical capacity. Given that health is a political decision, it is important to have a government that is committed to the health of the citizens and this is evident in the 3R Administration of His Excellency, Dist. Sen. Hope Uzodimma demonstrated through his support for the enrollment of over 85,000 vulnerable Imo citizens into the scheme and the payment of premiums contributions for over 37,000 Imo civil servants in the State. It is to be placed on record that Imo State is the only State among the 36 States of the federation where the Governor approved and paid health insurance premiums for principal contributors of the formal sector health insurance programs. The agency has designed strategies, models and providers’ payment methods to ensure value for money in the implementation of its four (4) programs namely ImoCare, FSSHIP, BHCPF and TISHIP.

Q: How many people have been enrolled?

A: With the support of the Uzodimma-led 3R Administration we have enrolled over 125,000 Imo citizens and the enrolled population is currently accessing healthcare services in Imo today. All thanks to His Excellency, Dist. Sen. Hope Uzodimma, the governor of Imo State.

 

PROFILE

Dr. Uchenna Ewelike is a senior Public Health Physician and Health Economist. He is currently the Executive Secretary/CEO of the Imo State Health Insurance Agency. Before his appointment by His Excellency Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma in December 2022, he was a deputy director with the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Nigeria. Dr Ewelike is a graduate of University of Calabar where he studied medicine and Surgery. He holds a Masters of Public Health from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. He also holds a Masters of International Affairs and Diplomacy from the same Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. His desire for management made his to also obtain a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from National Open University of Nigeria. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health in the United Kingdom and holds a Ph.D in Health Economics from University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Dr Ewelike is a known and well recognised Health Economist in Nigeria and globally.

He is a member of the Global Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage where he has served at numerous capacities at JLN global technical meetings at South Korea, Bahrain, Kenya, Benin Republic etc. He is a trained and certified Health financing expert by World Health Organization in Barcelona, Spain.

Before his appointment and resumption of duty at Imo State Health Insurance Agency on the 30th of January, 2023, no single individual was accessing care through the agency. However in 5 months the agency enrolled and activated access to care for over 125, 000 vulnerable people today accessing care in 305 wards in Imo State. He developed the first Imo State service level agreement with providers which the agency is currently using. Under his administration in just 5 months, the ImoCare Health Insurance Program for the informal Sector population was birthed.

He has designed and commenced access to care for the formal Sector Social Health Insurance Programme in Imo State following the approval of payment of premiums for principal contributors of the Formal Sector Social Health Insurance Programme.

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PROFILE OF IKECHUKWU ANYANWU Ikechukwu Anyanwu is an Imo State born Nigerian. An Author, Public Speaker, Humanitarian, Blogger, Media Guru and Start-up Coach. He has inspired millions through Arise Africa Network Platform He Is Into Education, Media, Entertainment, Showbiz and Hospitality Industry. Having calved a nitche for himself as a leadership expert, human capital development and management consultant. He is currently the Chairman, Online Media practitioners Association of Nigeria, Imo State Chapter. Ceo Arise Africa Magazine, Founder Arise Africa Network – a non-profit organization. Face of Arise Africa, Managing Consultant GCFN Consult. Member, Imo State Bloggers Association. Ag National President, Association of Pageant CEO’s of Nigeria Human Resource Specialist and Leadership Coach with astute impact on many seeking to maximize their skills, intellectuals and innate potentials He has a track record of reproducing leaders and helping them to gain dominance within their nitch. Mr Anyanwu after a rich career that spanned for 18 years having worked as Human Resources Manger, Outlet Manager Rennys Foods Limited from 2004 – 2019, Management Consultant for various Quick Service Restaurants in Abuja, Enugu, Rivers State, Abia, Ebonyi, Kogi and Imo State is now focusing on helping young people to discover, develop their talents. He has built lots of platforms for young people of Africa to express their talents. He is passionate about writing, consulting, coaching and training. He blogs regularly via www.ariseafrika.com and has a thriving social media followership. He is a graduate of Sociology/Anthropology, Imo State University whose passion is to impart knowledge by educating, equipping and empowering young minds for the future. He is an alumni of Living Word Training Center He is also the West African Representative of All African Media Networks He is married to Mrs Carol Anyanwu and blessed with 3 sons.

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