Despite the increase in the health insurance subscription rate, the number of people with access to effective care remains low given the Nigerian population and the global standards required.
A health management expert, Mr. Lekan Ewenla expressed these views in a conversation with DAILY POST.
He said that despite increased awareness among citizens of the need for health insurance, many still do not have the required access to health care.
Mr Ewenla, who is the Managing Director of the Ultimate Health Maintenance Organization, was speaking against the backdrop of the perceived poor health behavior of Nigerians.
He explained, however, that the purchasing rate for health insurance at the end of the last quarter of 2020 was significantly higher than it has been in recent years.
“When this program started it was essentially a federal government business, but after activating federal officials on the program with their dependents, there was serious agitation for the deepening and expansion of the program.” .
He said that in order to fulfill its obligations to the United Nations in achieving universal health coverage, the federal government has increased its collaboration with state governments in providing access to health insurance.
“This is the first time in the history of Nigeria that we are witnessing a government-to-government collaboration in terms of deepening health insurance. The federal government works on the side of the national primary health development agency to deal with the supply while the NHIS deals with the demand.
“The government has started to tackle the problem of healthcare in Nigeria from a demand and supply chain perspective, so I’m sure there would be a significant improvement in enrollment. ‘health insurance across the country, ”he said.
For this to happen, Ewenla said state governments need to focus more on the informal sector where the largest number of vulnerable people in society operate.
He also called on health management organizations in Nigeria, whose legal duty is to conduct health insurance using the required technical capacity, to focus on services rather than enrolling people.
He said the government needs to step up its regulatory responsibilities to clean up the sector, as too many HMOs are currently operating while services remain below par.
“The concept of health insurance is meant to be a public-private partnership, in which the scheme is to be run by health maintenance agencies but regulated by NHIS or state health insurance schemes to ensure the compliance with policies and regulations, ”he added.