For Immediate Release

Interagency Collaboration Leads to Breakthroughs in Health Insurance Coverage in Plateau State, Nigeria


Agencies that rarely communicated join hands to assist poor and vulnerable residents



Nigiria news story photo
Representatives of two Plateau State social service agencies meet in March 2023. (Photo: USAID LHSS Project/Nigeria) 


Prior to the intervention of USAID’s Local Health System Sustainability Project (LHSS) in 2022, two key government agencies in Plateau State, Nigeria, were working separately to provide social services for poor and vulnerable people. The Plateau State Contributory Health Care Management Agency (PLASCHEMA) and the Plateau State Operations Coordinating Unit (SOCU) of the National Social Safety-Nets Coordinating Office did not communicate with one another, and each followed its own process for identifying people in need.  

While SOCU’s method of identifying people entitled to safety-net services had produced a rich, evidence-based database, PLASCHEMA was relying on methods that inadvertently missed many poor and vulnerable individuals who qualified for its free health insurance program. 

According to a PLASCHEMA official, “there was no network for mining and use of available data on the vulnerable for health interventions.” 

To open the lines of communication, LHSS arranged for representatives of the two entities to meet in March 2023. It was the first time they had talked in person. Follow-up meetings over the next few months further strengthened their relationship.  

During talks, PLASCHEMA learned that SOCU had completed community targeting to identify the poor and vulnerable across the state. Moreover, SOCU was willing to grant PLASCHEMA access to the state’s Social Register to enable enrollment of additional beneficiaries across the state’s 325 federal and state wards into the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), a public health insurance program that provides access to essential health services to the poor and vulnerable.  

Moving forward, PLASCHEMA will use the more objective and reliable data in SOCU’s Social Register to target the right communities and ensure vulnerable persons are identified and enrolled in the health insurance program. In addition, PLASCHEMA has identified an opportunity to offer BHCPF insurance to over 300,000 vulnerable households across Plateau State that currently participate in the SOCU-administered Conditional Cash Transfer program.  

“We are happy to be working together,” a SOCU official remarked on the new relationship with PLASCHEMA. “It starts from here, then every other thing begins to happen.” 

LHSS will continue supporting the interagency partnership, towards the twin goals of sustained collaboration and increased coverage and financial protection of Plateau State’s most vulnerable residents after LHSS ends.  



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