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Health experts advocate insurance coverage for IVF treatment

By Joke Falaju, Abuja
29 May 2023   |   3:05 am
Health experts have called on government to support Nigerians who have fertility challenges by providing insurance coverage to access In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatment.

[FILES] Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatment. PHOTO: IVF babble

Health experts have called on government to support Nigerians who have fertility challenges by providing insurance coverage to access In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatment.

They lamented that government has not taken fertility treatment seriously, as many insurance companies in the health sector belittle or overlook infertility and don’t want to get involved in IVF treatment.

Chief Medical Director of Deda Hospital, Dr. Sunday Onuh, who stated this during launch of the radiography unit of the hospital, disclosed that, in January, the medical unit of the Central Bank of Nigeria took a step to sponsor staff with challenges in childbirth, particularly those with primary infertility.

He said: “Insurance generally, either National Health Insurance Scheme or private health insurance, none have delved into infertility, and that is an area government can come in and help the masses.”

Onuh also lamented the high import duty on IVF products, which has made cost of treatment very high and called on the Federal Government to reduce import duty on the products and provide foreign exchange (forex) to import them, so that people could stop patronising the black market, thereby making IVF more affordable.

He said: “These are ways government can come in and make things affordable. If import duty is so high, exchange rate is high; the cost to the consumer will be high. But if those things go down, cost to the consumer will be low.”

Speaking on the newly acquired Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine, the CMD said: “The MRI machine can compete with any other in the world because it is the latest specification for MRI and makes medical imaging conspicuous with sharp imaging, when you need to make diagnosis with sharp imaging. It’s much faster than the specifications that have been in existence.

“The better the imaging the lesser the time you need to subject the patient of going through the machine. The resolution is very high and clear and you don’t have to be over-specialised before you can interpret the results.

“Before now, we have been sending patient out and they come back with stories of how they were delayed, but now with the speed you can get things done same day. This makes diagnosis fast and instituting treatment promptly makes it easier for us and also for the patients.

“As a hospital and also as a unit, we have plans to expand our radiology department and it does not just stop at MRI, there are other areas we are looking to go into in the near future. We want a one-stop kind of hospital where all the departments are represented; we have been building on it gradually.

“We only recently introduced the plastic surgery unit, where we have done major plastic surgery with fantastic result. We also do vaginal rejuvenation where in one who has some tear that has not healed, we have been doing a lot of reconstruction. The area we want to go into is using laser machine for the rejuvenation to bring back the tone of the vagina,” he stated.

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