Dr. Hakeem Onasanya bears his mind on the new National Health Insurance Bill 2017 recently signed in to law. He is a medical doctor and Vice President, Oxford University Africa Society.

In an open letter written on his LinkedIn Page, Dr. Onasanya advises Mr. President on key pointers that ensures the new bill records success.

The new bill sees the end of the National Health Insurance Scheme and the beginning of a National Health Insurance Commission, making the new body more of a regulator than a player in the space.

The letter reads;

Good afternoon Mr. President,

I hope you are aware of the bill that was passed by the National Assembly to repeal the NHIS Act of 2004 and to enact the National Health Insurance Commission (NHIC) Bill of 2017.

While this bill is a step in the right direction towards achieving universal health coverage in Nigeria, I believe that making enrollment into health insurance compulsory for every Nigerian is even more important than signing that bill for the following reasons.

To start with, we need to learn from the first mistake of the NHIS act of 2004, which only made enrollment compulsory for federal civil servants. This explains why we were only able to achieve just 4% coverage.

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Nations such as the United Kingdom, Germany and Rwanda achieved Universal Health Coverage by making Health Insurance mandatory for ALL.

Mr. President, the past 15 years of the NHIS has shown that if we leave enrollment into health insurance in the hands of individuals, we are doomed to fail.

Finally, we need to take a cue from the Insurance Act of 2003 which mandates owners of motor vehicles plying Nigerian roads to have a minimum of Third Party Insurance.

If we could mandate Nigerians who own cars to have motor insurance, why can’t we mandate Nigerians who have a life to have health insurance?


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