Nasarawa govt enrols 130 Almajiris in health insurance scheme

The Nasarawa State Government has disclosed that no fewer than 130 Almajiri teenagers have been enrolled into the state’s Health Insurance Agency as part of its efforts at improving their health status.

Arewa PUNCH recalls that in May 2020, the state government repatriated 788 Almajiris in the state to their various home states in a bid to ensure they got proper education and care from their parents.

Speaking with our correspondent in Lafia on Monday, the State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Aishatu Ibrahim, explained that the gesture was to ensure that young residents of the state who are part of the Almajiri system, get adequate healthcare coverage at all times.

She added that the state government had also enrolled 80 of the Almajiri children in public schools in order to ensure that they achieve sound education.

Ibrahim said, “What we are doing is mainly to ensure that children in the state, including the Almajiris, get good healthcare and sound education.

“The Nasarawa State Government embarked on pragmatic programmes and policies geared towards impacting positively on the lives of the Almajiris.

“This is why apart from enrolling the Almajiris in the health insurance scheme, over 80 of them were recently enrolled into public schools in the state in order for them to acquire basic western education,” he remarked.

The Commissioner stressed that measures have been put in place towards ensuring that the Almajiris are engaged in meaningful ventures for their future instead of roaming the streets and begging for alms.

Therefore, she called on good-spirited individuals and organisations to key into the efforts of the state government in rendering assistance to the Almajiris in every way possible in order to ensure a guaranteed future for them.

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the Nasarawa State Health Insurance Agency, Dr. Yahaya Bawa-Ubam has disclosed that the agency is targeting to enrol 500,000 residents of the state into the scheme by the year 2027.

Bawa-Ubam, who was recently appointed by Governor Abdullahi Sule, informed Arewa PUNCH that over 218,000 persons had enrolled into the scheme and are currently benefiting from the quality out-of-pocket healthcare services.

He added that the beneficiaries were registered under different packages such as public sector, informal sector, vulnerable, students, among others.

He called on healthcare providers in the state to be professional in thier conduct, and give their enrollees the desired services in order to increase the confidence of the people in the scheme.

“The benefits of health insurance schemes to ensuring a healthy society can not be over emphasised, hence the need for all residents of the state to enrol in the programme,” Bawa-Ubam insisted.

Speaking on the development, the Director of Education, Almajiri Liberation Movement in the state, Abdullahi Mohammed, commended the Nasarawa State Government for taking steps towards protecting the health of the Almajiris and for enrolling them in public schools across the state.

He revealed that the Non-governmental organisation had also been making arrangements towards enrolling a minimum of 260 Almajiris in schools in order to boost their knowledge and learning capacities.

However, Mohammed, lamented that a major challenge that the NGO is facing in its quest at helping the Almajiris is that most of their care-givers (Mallams) have not been cooperating with the organisation in getting the details of the new entrants in their respective locations.

“The Almajiris are not only those seen on the streets begging for food. There are also Almajiris who do not go out on the street to beg. The major reason for this is that most parents do not want to take care of their responsibilities,” Muhammad stated.

Continuing,  he maintained, “We have been making efforts for the Almajiris in Nasarawa State, but the mallams have not been meeting up with our expectations because most of them they go ahead to take them (Almajiris) without any proper documentation.

“Some of the Almajiri children do not even know their states of origin. We told them (mallams) to collect the details of parents who bring their children to learn from them, but they have not been cooperating with us.

“Helping the Almajiris without knowing about their parents and other details has not been easy because while collaborating with the government to offer assistance to them, we would have to explain why we want the assistance for the Almajiris.

“So, I am calling on the mallams to henceforth give the needed cooperation to us so that we can collectively help the Almajiris to have better futures,” he pleaded.


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