Experts link failure of NHIS to poor funding, lack of political will
Medical experts yesterday said poor government funding, lack of political will and inappropriate practices by the regulatory agencies were reasons for the failure of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in Nigeria.They also linked its failure to inadequate legal framework for a successful scheme, poor implementation of the Health Insurance Act and optional enrolment.
The experts gave the submission at the 2019 August Event organised by St. Nicholas Hospital to mark its 50th anniversary and the legacy of Chief Moses Adekoyejo Majekodunmi (MAM) Foundation on health and education in Lagos with the theme: Universal Health Coverage and The Role of A Functional National Health Insurance Scheme.”
The Clinical Director, St. Nicholas Hospital, Dr. Ebun Bamgboye, in his keynote address, lamented that the failure of the NHIS was due to non-realisation of the objective of making healthcare available and accessible to Nigerians at an affordable cost.He stressed that most Nigerians still pay out of their pockets for medical expenses, as only three per cent of the country’s population are registered on the NHIS, which he said, continues to drive many families to catastrophic health expenditures and poverty.
Also speaking, Lagos Zonal Co-ordinator, NHIS, Olufemi Akingbade, said most of the laws in Nigeria on healthcare financing were not workable, noting that they have hindered the achievement of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).He said lack of financial mechanism to protect the health of the citizens and optional health insurance scheme had limited the progress of achieving the UHC.
In the same vein, President, Health Federation of Nigeria, Clare Omatseye, said Nigerians should charge politicians to ensure health insurance bill is signed and implemented. She said only five per cent of the nation’s budget was allocated to health, noting that there should be provision for ‘catastrophe health fund’ to provide finances for medical equipment, infrastructure and others.