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Nigeria

Nigeria on the move towards universal health coverage

Photo credit: Management Sciences in Health

Kunle’s story touched me deeply. I walked into a pediatric unit of a teaching hospital in Nigeria a few years ago to review a patient. On the first bed was a lifeless child. He was brought in dead, a few minutes earlier by his parents. His mother, Bisi, wept uncontrollably. While in tears, she recounted how difficult it was for them to borrow money to get to the hospital. Although, they got some money from a chief in the community, the two-year old baby died before they got to the hospital.

Kunle’s case typifies the plight of many poor people in the country and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa. The financial burden of illness makes many families poorer. People are afraid to go to hospitals because they may not be able to afford the cost of the health services they need. They prefer to buy drugs over the counter or visit a local herbalist who will charge little or nothing to provide poor health service.

I believe Kunle had a right to be alive today but he is not.

The Week in Headlines

UHC Forward's Weekly Roundup of Headlines from Around the Globe

Week of July 15, 2013 - Governments around the world are engaging in serious political and technical discussions on how to expand health coverage. Still others are considering such reforms, but are struggling to navigate the legal, financial, and political frameworks of their countries to determine the best path towards universal health coverage (UHC).

Below is a list of UHC-related headlines from around the world. If you are viewing this on the web and would prefer to receive The Week in Headlines in your inbox every week, subscribe to the email edition.

COUNTRY HEADLINES

India

Roadblocks to universal health coverage: India is the world’s largest generic medicines exporter and has the third largest national economy in the world, according to data from the World Bank. But its healthcare policies are failing its poorest citizens.

Expanding access to health insurance

Country: 
Nigeria

(This Day Live) - Former President Olusegun Obasanjo formally launched the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in 2005, more than 40 years after the idea was first mooted in Nigeria. Evidently bothered by why such a great idea stayed on the drawing board for so long, the then president charged NHIS to hit the ground running and ensure that all Nigerians have one form of health insurance or the other by 2015.

Sadly, that’s another desirable target that will be missed. However, amends can still be made if all critical stakeholders, with President Goodluck Jonathan in the lead, prioritise the widespread adoption of health insurance not just as an issue for the poor or just for the health sector, but as a creative instrument for expanding human welfare, national growth and sustainable development.

To be sure, the NHIS has chalked up some remarkable achievements in the past eight years.

The Week in Headlines

UHC Forward's Weekly Roundup of Headlines from Around the Globe

Week of July 8, 2013 - Governments around the world are engaging in serious political and technical discussions on how to expand health coverage. Still others are considering such reforms, but are struggling to navigate the legal, financial, and political frameworks of their countries to determine the best path towards universal health coverage (UHC).

Below is a list of UHC-related headlines from around the world.

Promoting universal financial protection in Nigeria

Chima Onoka is one of the authors of Promoting universal financial protection: constraints and enabling factors in scaling-up coverage with social health insurance in Nigeria

Photo credit: nationalmirroronline.net

Nigeria is on the brink of achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC)... That is probably everyone’s wish. The reality though is that many hurdles separate Nigeria from that dream. Achieving UHC in Nigeria implies having financial risk protection for 150 million people, a step that for certain, will change African and global indices. Eight years after setting up a National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), 4% of Nigerians are covered by the scheme, largely through the Formal Sector Social Health Insurance Programme (FSSHIP) that currently, covers employees of the federal government and their families. The NHIS, an agency of the federal government, has established a plethora of social health insurance schemes (SHIPs) to ferry various population groups to the dreamland: Formal Sector SHIP (FSSHIP), Voluntary contributors SHIP (VCSHIP), Tertiary Institutions SHIP (TSSHIP), Community Based SHIP (CBSHIP), Rural Dwellers SHIP (RDSHIP), among others.

NHIS inaugurates committee on universal health coverage

Country: 
Nigeria

(Hallmark) - The Acting Executive Secretary of NHIS, Dr Abdulrahman Sambo, said yesterday that the benefit of universal health coverage enabled Nigerians to have access to qualitative health services and protect them against public health risks.

Sambo, represented by the General Manager, Planning and Monitoring, Dr Kenneth Korve, said the committee would brainstorm on targets of the Presidential Health Summit coming up later in the year.

“It has increasingly been acknowledged worldwide that the most important strategy to improve the health outcomes of any nation is to provide an unfettered access to health services for its citizens when the need arises.

“Provision of both physical and financial access, not only protects citizens against healthcare costs, which at times could have catastrophic effect, but also reduces other costs”.

Sambo said that the scheme was working to ensure that Nigeria met the health-related MDGs and also working for continuous promotion of health n

More Nigerians are embracing health insurance

Country: 
Nigeria

AllAfrica.com) - Dr. Abdulrahman Sambo is the Acting Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme. At a media parley recently, he speaks on the agency, its achievements and the challenges confronting the scheme.

The National Health Insurance Scheme formally took off in 2005. How has it been?

It has been very challenging but promising. It has been challenging in the sense that the scheme was given a tough mandate to ensure universal health coverage by 2015 without being given the necessary resources to make this possible. But it has been promising because we have made tremendous progress and we have the prospects of doing even better. The formal sector programme at the federal level has run fairly well, even though there were initial challenges in form of scepticism.

Promoting universal financial protection: constraints and enabling factors in scaling-up coverage with social health insurance in Nigeria

Country: 
Nigeria

The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in Nigeria was launched in 2005 as part of efforts by the federal government to achieve universal coverage using financial risk protection mechanisms. However, only 4% of the population, and mainly federal government employees, are currently covered by health insurance and this is primarily through the Formal Sector Social Health Insurance Programme (FSSHIP) of the NHIS.

This study aimed to understand why different state (sub-national) governments decided whether or not to adopt the FSSHIP for their employees.

Methods: This study used a comparative case study approach.

Nigerian health delegation in Ghana to understudy NHIS

Country: 
Ghana

(CitiFMOnline) - A 15-member delegation from Nigeria is in Ghana on a week-long study tour of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Reps explain delay in passage of Health, Insurance Commission bills

Country: 
Nigeria

(The Guardian - Nigeria) - THE House of Representatives is placing squarely on the shoulders of the Senate the delay in the passage of the National Health Bill (NHB) and the Bill Establishing a Commission on National Health Insurance (NHIC) with more regulatory duties from the existing National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

On the international front, India and Nigeria will battle it out at the 66th World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland, for the headship of member-states’ mechanism on substandard/spurious/falsely labelled/falsified/counterfeit (SSFFC) medical products.

The Guardian learnt on Tuesday at the WHA in Geneva, Switzerland, that India was opposed to Nigeria, represented by the Director General of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr.