Minister Advocates Mandatory Health Insurance Scheme To Nigerians
Leadership: The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu on Friday called for the introduction of a mandatory health insurance scheme for all Nigerians.
Chukwu made the call at the inauguration of the National Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week (MNCHW) week in Abuja on Friday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the event is: ``A package of Care for Healthy Family.’’
Chukwu said the introduction of the scheme would support the universal health insurance, which was a key factor in scaling up accessible health care.
``We are talking of a package of health, and that the ongoing World Health Assembly discussion is on universal health coverage.
``Why are people not accessing health, could it be due to ignorance? Possible, could it be due to the fact that we do not have these facilities close by, we do not have skilled personnel and willing personnel?
``Possibly, but could it also be because they cannot afford this care? I think is a combination of all these factors and one of the ways we can achieve universal health coverage is some kind of insurance.
`` I still say it Nigeria has got to move to the next stage, we need to make health insurance mandatory.’’
The minister said the idea behind the maternal, newborn and child health week was to have a cost-effective and result-oriented integrated package of preventive and promotional services.
He said some of the activities of the week would include, administering vitamin A supplement; Immunisation; De-worming of children under five; and nutritional screening.
Chukwu urged mothers to avail themselves of the opportunities derived from all the packages to improve their health.
He said government was making efforts to reduce maternal mortality by ensuring the availability of free contraceptives in all public hospitals.
Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, the Executive Secretary, FCT Primary Health Care Development Board, advised expectancy mothers to regularly attend antenatal clinic, saying it would assist them to know what to avoid during pregnancy.
He also advised men to be supportive to their wives during pregnancy.
Mohammed said that family planning and child spacing would help reduce maternal and child mortality, especially pregnancy related deaths.
Also speaking, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, Dr Precious Gbeneol, said the agency was collaborating with the ministry of health to scale up intervention for maternal and child health services.
She called on stakeholders to support health programmes that could provide solution to women and children health issues.