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Former NMA president advocates country demarcation into 17,000 blocks to achieve UHC

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Dr. Kayode Obembe

Dr. Kayode Obembe

Immediate Past President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Kayode Obembe has recommended the demarcation of the country into 17,000 health blocks, to achieve Universal Health Coverage, under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Each of the blocks, according to him would be made up of 10,000 prospective enrollees into the Scheme.Obembe, who is also a Honourary Professor of Medicine and Healthcare Council Advisor, World Medical Association (WMA), in a Road Map to UHC made available to The Guardian said, “Premium Medical Insurance (PMI) takes cognizance of the various attempts made, to make Nigerian citizen healthy through ‘Health for all by the year 2000’, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – 2015 and now Sustainable Development Goals – 2030 (SDGs), all to achieve UHC.

“The whole country should be demarcated into “health blocks” each to be made roughly 10,000 prospective enrollees. For a population of 170million, there will be 17,000 health blocks.

“All the health blocks must be assigned to HMOs by NHIS by open balloting and random selection.”Obembe said all wards within a health block should be organized in Ward Health Organisations (wHO) units, with the traditional ruler in that ward as the Patron.

He said the organogram of the wHO cascades down from Chairman (Board of Trustees) to council, to association and household enrollees. He said there should be a healthcare provider at each ward; where there is no doctor at all, a doctor from National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) can be posted there.

Obembe suggested that a consultant, that is a Fellow National Post-graduate Medical College of Physicians (FNPMC) or Fellow of West African College of surgeons (FWACS), should head each health block.

He said Residency Training Programme should make it compulsory that a Resident Doctor should spend six months in a health block as part of acquiring community experience towards becoming a consultant.

The former NMA President advocated the establishment of a Health Tax Fund, with the appropriate input from the private sector, with the HMOs as the accounting officer in each of the health blocks. He said any HMO found fraudulent should be prosecuted. “This is the surest way towards attaining the goal of UHC,” he said.


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