News

‘Less Than 5 % Of Nigerians Covered By NHIS’

The Acting Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme, Mallam Attahiru Ibrahim, says less than 5 per cent of Nigeria’s population has been covered by the scheme.

He disclosed this on Wednesday in Abeokuta at a one-day sensitisation for uniformed men with the theme: ‘Enrollee Satisfaction: A pathway to universal health coverage’ organised by the agency.

Ibrahim who was represented by the South-West Zonal Coordinator, Adelaja Abereoran, lamented that the scheme only captured a “small number of Nigerians” who are public servants in federal, state and local government levels.

He said the agency ran the scheme with only the employers’ contribution and therefore asked the Nigeria Labour Congress to prevail on its members on payment of employees’ contribution.

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He said, “Basically, what we are doing, for now, we are covering Federal public servants and that is quite limited.

“But what we have also done in recent time, is to directly engage with the state governments to establish their own state agencies and then cover their staff, both at the state and local government levels.

“Again, when you add all the Federal, state and local government public servants together that is still a small percentage of the entire population.”

Ibrahim, however, the agency has other programmes that could take care of various other segments of the population.

These, he said, include community-based programme, with the capacity of covering people from the informal sector.

He said, “These people in informal sector can organise themselves into communities. Communities are not just by geography. You can organise people by geography in a particular community, you can also organise them along occupational lines.

“You can organise artisans, okada riders and all of that. By the time you do that, we would have put a large population into the data-base.

“We think in this way, we can enrol quite a number of people because the ultimate goal is to attain Universal Health Coverage at the earliest time possible.”

He warned that NHIS would not condone any Health Maintenance Organisation or Healthcare Provider, that rendered unsatisfactory service.

The Ogun State Coordinator of NHIS, Mr.Lekan Olabode, said enrollees were “kings and queens” who deserved satisfactory healthcare services in line with best practice.

Olabode identified treatment denial, out of pocket payment, poor referral, delayed treatment and discrimination against public enrollees as challenges confronting the scheme.

PUNCH.

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