- Yakubu Dogara noted that if Nigeria is to achieve its national health objective of providing health for all its citizens, poor families must have national health insurance coverage
- According to the speaker, the way a country finances its health care system is a key determinant of the health of its citizenry
- Dogara appealed to relevant stakeholders to contribute towards aiding the National Assembly achieve its healthcare goals
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has revealed that over 67 percent of Nigerians are unable to afford hospital payment for treatment of illnesses such as malaria, NTA reports.
This amounts to over a hundred million poor Nigerian families who cannot even afford to get themselves treated in public health facilities.
NAIJ.com notes that Dogara made his comments as he ordered an investigative hearing to examine the rate of compliance of Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) to the NHIS contributions and utilization of funds by the healthcare providers.
According to the speaker, poor families should have national health insurance coverage so as to assess basic health services, if Nigeria is to achieve its national health objective of providing health for all.
The speaker appealed to actors in the health insurance sector to be more creative in order to bring in more participants into the national health insurance scheme.
Dogara stated: “Regrettably, there is no mechanism to protect vulnerable families from the catastrophic effects of the exorbitant cost of healthcare services in Nigeria.
“Poor families, who constitute over 67% of our population, (well in excess of 100 million Nigerians), cannot afford to pay hospital bills even for treatment of malaria in public health facilities, nor for routine ante-natal services.
“If we must achieve desired outcomes and changes, there is a compelling need to expand the coverage levels of NHIS, currently estimated to be about 4-5% of Nigerians, mostly in the formal sector.
“A scenario where even this abysmally low coverage is attributable to those in paid employment and other types of formal sector creates suspicion of lack of creativity and innovation on the part of key actors in the Health insurance industry in Nigeria, especially HMOs."
Dogara noted that the way a country finances its health care system is a key determinant of the health of its citizenry.
He stressed that Nigeria needed a selection of adequate and efficient methods of financing healthcare in order to provide healthcare for all its citizens.
Dogara called on relevant stakeholders to contribute towards aiding the National Assembly achieve its healthcare goals.
The House Committee on Healthcare Services organized the hearing.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously reported that minister of state for health Dr. Mohammed Ali Pate said Nigerians spend about $6.256 billion per annum to access medical care abroad, regretting that some of the medical services Nigerians spend hard currencies to access abroad are available locally.
Delivering a keynote address at a one-day private sector health summit on ‘Unlocking the Market Potential of Nigeria’s Private Health Sector’ held in Lagos, the minister said “up to half a billion US dollars leaves Nigeria annually in the form of foreign hospital treatment.”
Watch this NAIJ.com TV video of Nigerians expressing outrage over the N1500 per person healthcare budget: