The six-month agreement which HIFASS signed with the UNHCR comes with many positives. One of these is the facilitation of healthcare for refugees between the primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare centres, through a referral method that is without hitches.
HIFASS signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with primary health providers in the areas where refugees are camped and provided them with referral notes which will aid the refugees in accessing healthcare services, with bills to be paid by HIFASS.
The project manager of the UNHCR/HIFASS-PACR, Asimobi Chidiebere, said the referral notes/coupons would take care of emergencies and prevent unnecessary bottle-necks, as far as the health of refugees is concerned.
“If we have an easy system in place, the refugees can be assured of primary health care and, where they cannot get it, they get referral notes to a secondary health facility”.
“So far, deliveries, minor and major surgeries have been carried out by the health centres (in Cross River and Benue states). The process will get better,”Asimobi assured.
The Chief Medical Director of the Holy Family Hospital, Ikom, Dr Ewang Patrick, said the arrangement would ease the stress of always having to deal directly with refugees who have no token or cannot take care of themselves, as far as healthcare is concerned.
“We are ready to work with HIFASS to give the refugees the care they deserve. I am glad we have now fashioned a system which should take care of things,” he said.
However, following the month-long strike action by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) in April, the fluidity of the process was upset as very few primary healthcare centres were open. Now that the strike has been called off week ending June 1, 2018, we are hopeful that activities would get back on track.