Dogara: Over 100 Million Nigerians Cannot Access Adequate Health Care

67 percent of Nigerians, which amounts to over a hundred million poor
families, cannot afford to pay hospital bills for treatment of illnesses
such as malaria in public health facilities, Speaker Yakubu Dogara has
added that if Nigeria must achieve its national health objective of
providing health for all, a situation where poor and vulnerable families
in Nigeria do not have access to basic health services must be
addressed by extending the coverage of national health insurance to
Mr Dogara,
who was speaking while declaring an investigative hearing to examine
the compliance rate of Health Maintenance Organisations to the NHIS
contributions and utilization of funds by the healthcare providers and
alleged inhuman treatment of enrollers open at the National Assembly on Wednesday,
also called for creativity and innovation by actors in the health
insurance sector to bring in more participants in the scheme.
said, “Regrettably, there is no mechanism to protect vulnerable
families from the catastrophic effects of the exorbitant cost of
healthcare services in Nigeria. Poor families, who constitute over 67%
of our population, (well in excess of 100 million Nigerians), cannot
afford to pay hospital bills even for treatment of malaria in public
health facilities, nor for routine ante-natal services.
we must achieve desired outcomes and changes, there is a compelling
need to expand the coverage levels of NHIS, currently estimated to be
about 4-5% of Nigerians, mostly in the formal sector. A scenario where
even this abysmally low coverage is attributable to those in paid
employment and other types of formal sector creates suspicion of lack of
creativity and innovation on the part of key actors in the Health
insurance industry in Nigeria, especially HMOs.”
The hearing was organised by the House Committee on Healthcare Services
noted that the importance of the National Health Insurance Scheme
(NHIS), which was established in 1999 with the overall purpose of
securing universal coverage and access to adequate and affordable health
care in order to improve the health status of all Nigerians, cannot be
overemphasized as no nation can achieve a healthy milestone in the
health sector without having such a health finance scheme mandated to
check health emergency, reduce out-of-pocket spending for health
services and avert what would otherwise be a national health crisis.
for a repositioning of the National Health Insurance Scheme, he said
NHIS and the delivery partners have been subjected to various
criticisms, challenges and complaints ranging from untimely payment by
Healthcare Providers from the HMOs to unsatisfactory health services to
However, he added
that  selection of adequate and efficient methods of financing, in
addition to organisational delivery structure for health services, is
essential if a country is to achieve its national health objective of
providing health for all and the way a country finances its health care
system is a key determinant of the health of its citizenry.
care in Nigeria is financed by tax revenue, out-of-pocket payments,
donor funding, and health insurance (social and community),” he said,
 while calling on relevant stakeholders to make contributions towards
achieving the goal of the National Assembly to address the challenges,
and proffer ideas towards resolving areas of concern so that drastic
changes can be made for a better healthcare delivery system in Nigeria.

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