Healthcare and Insurance in Nigeria

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The Problem Statement

Over 60 years of independence, the Nigerian health system has been evolving over the years through health care reforms aimed at addressing the public health challenges confronting it.

This led to the formulation of health scheme like National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), National Immunization Coverage Scheme (NICS), Midwives Service Scheme (MSS), Nigerian Pay for Performance scheme (P4P) amongst others.

Nevertheless, the inability to effectively address the country’s myriad public health challenges has contributed to the continual and high level of poverty and the defect of the health system. Inadequate legal framework and poor implementation of the act, political instability, corruption, limited institutional capacity and government funding, malpractices by the regulatory agency and a fragile economy are major factors responsible for the poor development of health services in Nigeria.

Households and individuals in Nigeria bear the burden of a dysfunctional and inequitable health system – delaying or not seeking health care and having to pay out of pocket for health care services that are not affordable.

The Policy Solution

The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) gained legislative obligation under Act 35 of 1999 by the Federal Government of Nigeria to improve the health of all Nigerians, ensuring access to good health care services, to limit the rise in the cost of health care services, to ensure appropriate patronage of all levels of health care, to ensure the availability of funds in the health sector for improved services amongst others.

In order to ensure that every Nigerian has access to good healthcare services, the Nigerian NHIS was structured to cover all groups in society.

Hence, calling for effective implementation so as to demonstrate a viable path in achieving and expanding health insurance scheme to the best possible means in Nigeria.

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NIGAC Constructive Position/Take

Healthcare in Nigeria is run by the three tiers of government.

The Federal Government is responsible for tertiary healthcare, which involves coordinating the affairs of the University Teaching Hospitals and Federal Medical Centres while the State Government manages secondary healthcare, which involves managing general hospitals. And lastly, the local government is responsible for primary healthcare, which is regulated by the federal government through the National Primary Health Care Developing Agency (NPHCDA).

The Nigerian healthcare system has made progress in some areas in the last few decades, but they are still some nagging issues concerning healthcare in Nigeria that needs to be addressed.

Programmes and measures aimed at removing financial barriers preventing access to health care services and protecting poor and vulnerable populations from the impoverishing effects of medical expenditures need to be introduced.

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals welfare should be paramount. Their salaries, benefits, pension and hazard allowance should be paid and as at when due.

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