Healthcare providers have advised the Federal Government against poor health financing as this may affect the planned Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC).
President, Healthcare Providers Association of Nigeria, (HCPAN), Dr. Adenike Olaniba gave the advice in her lecture during the 30th anniversary of Healthcare Magazine/ 2016 HCPAN’s Mid-Year Capacity Building Meeting in Lagos. It was titled Universal Health Insurance Coverage: The Role of Healthcare Providers.
Dr. Olaniba said less than five percent of the country was insured under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), adding that there was need for immediate review of NHIS Act 35 of 1999 to make it mandatory for all citizens to sign up under the scheme.
Olaniba, Consultant Public Health Physician, said the existing structure of health financing will not enable the country achieve the desired health outcomes’
She said Nigeria presently spends $67per head on healthcare.
She continued: “WHO report shows that South Africa spends seven times more than Nigeria while Angola’s health budget is three times more than ours. In the United States, healthcare expenditure is $7,000 per head and $6,000 per head in Switzerland. Currently, 59 percent of Nigerians pay for healthcare out-of-pocket”.
Olaniba said health is wealth, stressing that the government should have long-term commitment to increasing health spending and explore innovative health financing mechanisms.
“The health indices in Nigeria are poor and need to be improved upon. Nigeria has the eighth-lowest life expectancy at birth and one of the highest maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in the world. Though we have the largest economy in Africa, yet only 3.5 per cent of this year budget is given to health. That is a serious issue with funding.
“To ensure equity in the distribution of enrollees, NHIS should put a peg on the maximum number of enrollees per facility. For example, 5000, so that all accredited providers can participate in the scheme.”
On his part, the Chairman, Lagos State, HCPAN, Dr. Ademola Aina said the capacity building meeting was for all health professionals to harness strategies to ensure UHC for all because as professionals health insurance is the only way the rich and poor can access to health.
By: Oluoma Omeihe
The Nation News
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