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The biggest challenge facing Nigeria’s health insurance scheme borders on what the new executive secretary needs to do differently in order to sustainably expand the Scheme. ANTHONIA OBOKOH highlights four issues that Mohammed Sambo has to address.
Advances in Nigeria’s health insurance scheme (NHIS) and practice would have led to greater health benefits, wellbeing, longevity and universal health coverage for every Nigerian. But, not everyone has been able to take advantage of the scheme.
Health insurance in Nigeria has had many challenges compared to its peers in Africa including Rwanda and South Africa. Nigeria still struggles to meet the commitment it signed-up to with other members of African Union 18 years ago – the Abuja Declaration – to allocate at least 15 percent of its budget to improve the health sector.
Almost sixteen years after the inception of the scheme, at present, less than 1 percent of Nigerians are covered under the NHIS, even this number is only a conservative estimate, and the true figure is still unknown.
The scheme has been continuously bogged down by policy somersaults, ineffective operational guidelines, corruption, inefficiency and bureaucratic bottlenecks in the registration process. Regrettably, the quality of care received under the scheme is questionable with accusing fingers pointed at major stakeholders including the NHIS, Health Management Organisations (HMOs) and the hospitals.
Also the gaps in standards of care and shortage in enrolees coverage persists, and for many they have worsened without access and affordability leading to a large number in the populations paying out of pocket for healthcare.
Meanwhile, Nigeria suffers from high rates of infectious diseases increasingly and have to cope with growing rates of chronic diseases with no mature health care systems finding it harder to deliver effective, timely care in malaria, mental health, cancers for … Read More...