Nigeria on course to achieving universal healthcare financing
(Leadership) - The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, on Thursday said the the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) had put Nigeria on the right track to achieving universal health care financing.
Speaking at a meting of the National Council on Health Chukwu said the scheme had covered, under its formal sector health care insurance, more than 90 per cent of federal public sector employees.
``However, as at now, only five per cent of Nigerians are covered under any risk protection scheme, a far cry from the desired 100 per cent coverage.
``With the launch of the community based health insurance scheme in November 2011 by Mr President, provision has now been made for the informal sector, which accounts for more than 60 per cent of Nigerians.
``I therefore urge you all to key into this scheme to ensure that all states and communities come on board, ’’ He said.
Chukwu added that there was plan to introduce a special fund that would finance medical emergency response and management and, possibly, cancer and chronic renal failure.
He said that the Federal Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Health would soon present a draft policy on the management of medical waste to the Federal Executive Council for approval.
According to him NCH had set Oct. 1 as the deadline for syringes and needles to be replaced with conventional auto disposable syringes in all federal hospitals.
The minister said government was committed to achieving universal health coverage as enunciated in the resolution of the World Health Assembly in 2005.
Speaking earlier, Sen Ifeanyi Okowa , Vice Chairman Senate Committee on Health, said that there was the need to consolidate legislative and Executive collaboration in the health sector to sustain existing progress.
Okowa added that despite improvements in the Nation’s health services delivery, there was a huge gap still existing in communities located in hard-to-reach terrain.
``This challenge is further compounded by persisting poverty and environmental problems such as poor sanitation, inadequate access to portable water and poor housing conditions. ’’
Okowa urged the federal government to re-present the `National Health Bill’ for passage into law.
In her speech the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs Fatimah Bamidele urged the council members to optimally use the forum for meaningful decisions that would add value to the nation’s health development.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the theme of the 55th National Council on Health meeting was `Universal Health Coverage and Implementing the National Strategic Health Development Plan’.