Written by Ijeoma UKAZU

Health insurance: Oyo barter system

When one hears of barter system, the attention is focused on business, trading goods for goods but that is not the case here.

In Oyo State, Nigeria you can trade farm produce for health insurance enrolment as this is geared towards ensuring that no one is left behind.

This Bater system was initiated by the Oyo State Health Insurance Agency, OYSHIA.

It is a system where farmers who can't afford as low as 8,000 naira to enrol in the health scheme, are allowed to part with farm produce equivalent to the required amount.

However, this to a large extent will motivate it's citizenry to take advantage of the opportunity and register for the scheme.

To ensure a successful scheme, OYSHIA developed different healthcare plans to cover all categories of residents of the State in order to ensure access to good healthcare services.

Access to health care remains a challenge in Nigeria as this single challenge has escalated high rates of child and maternal mortality and morbidity across the country.  

Although14 years ago, the country worked towards improving access in its bid to achieve universal health coverage which saw to the  establishment of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, sadly, less than five percent of Nigerians are covered under the scheme.

Due to low coverage of the NHIS, States like Oyo, Lagos Kwara amongst others have established state-owned health insurance and Oyo state is making a huge impact worthy of emulation

Oyo citizens are currently enjoying mandatory but affordable health insurance system.

To ensure a successful scheme, OYSHIA developed different healthcare plans to cover all categories of residents of the state in order to ensure that they have access to good healthcare services.

These plans include: standard plan which is designed with the aim of achieving universal health coverage. It is designed for  formal sector, Informal sector, vulnerable group like pregnant women, children under five, prisoners, retirees & aged, communities & rural dwellers.


The top-up plan which is for two different categories of standard plus & standard peak are to provide alternatives for the formal sector segment and to generate subsidy for the vulnerable group. The students & tertiary institutions plan is also ages five to 18 and segments of the populace in tertiary institutions.

Speaking recently during a two day media dialogue organised by United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, in collaboration with the State Ministry of Information, the Executive Secretary OYSHIA, Dr Olusola Akande, said the government is commitment to health insurance in the State which is geared towards improving health service utilization as well as provide financial protection against huge medical bills among citizens of the state.

The Oyo State Health Insurance was established in 2015 and passed into law November 2016, assented to by Governor Abiola Ajimobi in December, 2016 and flagged off on 25th May, 2017. The scheme was also through legal frame work made mandatory for all residence of the state.

According to Akande "we have lots of testimonies from beneficiaries since the scheme started. It makes patients to see their doctors when nothing is wrong with them and also improve their health seeking behaviour."

He pointed that there was a very strong connection between Social Health Insurance and community empowerment, stating that over 100,000 people has been enrolled in the mandatory scheme.

Akande stated that over 10,000 children less than five years and pregnant women are on the scheme, disclosing that 350 vaginal deliveries and 78 Caesarean Sessions have been carried out under the scheme.

According to him "we are upgrading the facilities in the State. Already, Primary Healthcare Centres accredited for the scheme have been fully upgraded to offer best quality healthcare services to the people.

Explaining further, the executive secretary said OYSHIA is being funded with two percent consolidated fund from the state’s internally generated revenue, adding that they are also procuring grants, premium to support the scheme.

The Oyo model of health insurance scheme has been rated very high in terms of performance, stating that the agency would not relent in making sure that the people of the State enjoy quality healthcare without spending their last savings on medical bills.

Giving her presentation, UNICEF Health Specialist, Dr. Adebola Hassan said health insurance is very a necessary tool to prevent avoidable death particularly among children.

In her presentation tagged: "Leaving No Child Behind", said that the benefits of health insurance are enormous particularly in attaining Universal Health Coverage, UHC.

Also speaking, Mr Gafer Alawode from Development Governance International Consult, GDI, said that the State Social Health Insurance scheme, SSHIS, will give rise to financial protection, improve quality of care.

However, he said there are challenges to SSHIS which includes funding, political will and technical capacity. Others includes cultural barrier, Information Communication Technology, ICT, amongst others.




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