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HCPAN builds capacity for health insurance coverage

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Until all Nigerians comes under one form of health insurance or the other, the hope of improving general health may continue to be a wish.

This is the submission of practitioners in the health sector, as they identified that lingering problems of inadequate funding for health, out-of-pocket payment and capacity shortfall among others have their solution in universal coverage through health insurance.

The practitioners, under the aegis of Healthcare Providers’ Association of Nigeria (HCPAN), Lagos branch, at the mid-year capacity building meeting on Tuesday, said that it was regrettable that health status of Nigerians has continue to worsen, with life expectancy rooted at 54.5 years.

Consultant Public Health Physician, Dr. Adenike Olaniba, said that there are countries today that have achieved between 70 to 80 years life expectancy through universal health coverage, which ensures that everyone has access to quality healthcare.

Olaniba said that though health insurance was relatively new to the country, but all hands must be on deck to make it work to address myriads of problems facing the health sector.

According to her, “The health indices in Nigeria are poor and need to be improved upon. Nigeria has the eight-lowest life expectancy at birth and one of the highest maternal mortality in the world. Though we have the largest economy in Africa, yet only 3.5 per cent of our 2016 budget is given to health. That is a serious issue with funding.

“Meanwhile, no fewer than 30,000 Nigerians travel overseas for healthcare in 2012, spending an average of $1.5b. The rest that cannot afford such are here paying out-of-pocket (68 per cent of the population). These are the people that cannot afford it that we must focused on to help access care. That is the what universal coverage is all about. Let those that can pay will cater for those that cannot pay, only that way we can improve the health status of Nigerians,” Olaniba said.

Chairman of the Lagos HCPAN, Dr. Ademola Aina, said the Federal Government was trying its bit with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), but still far in-between with less than 10 per cent coverage.


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