Improve on PPP, Health Insurance Scheme, HCPAN Urges Governments

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Martins Ifijeh

Health sector is another integral part of the Nigeria system that needs more attention. As an important element of national security, public health not only functions to provide adequate and timely medical care but also track, monitor, and control disease outbreak.

In the last few years, the sector has been getting little or no attention from all levels of government, as the budget allocated to the sector continue to fall below 5.0 per cent.

This however, shows Nigeria has a lot to do in improving its health system and making healthcare affordable and accessible to the millions of Nigerians who are not getting the health services they require.
As a way of addressing this, Healthcare Provider Association of Nigeria (HCPAN) has called on the federal, state and local governments to embrace the Private Public Partnership (PPP), while putting modus on ground for a better universal health coverage for the citizens.

Speaking at the group’s 12th Annual General Meeting/Scientific Conference, tagged: “Achieving Universal Health Coverage in Economic Recession, and the Way Forward”the National President of the Association, Dr. Umar Oluwole Sandasaid with the economic recession experienced in the country, it was becoming difficult for Nigerians to pay for their health bills, adding that health insurance must be strengthened to provide palliatives for the citizens.

“One of the ways in achieving this is through a PPP model that will work. 70 per cent of the providers are in the private sectors. The government is in charge of health, so healthcare providers in the private sector have to be used to push the brand. How many general hospital do you see in Lagos State? How many teaching hospital do you see? Government cannot do it alone, so they have to partner with the private sector, which is the only way to grow in order to reduce bad health indices for Nigerians,” he added.

Meanwhile, the former Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, Dr. Leke Pitan called on Nigerian medical experts abroad to give a lending hand in the revamping of the country’s health sector, adding that with the economic recession, it was time to look inwards, as the situation was also affecting the health sector.

Presenting a model, he said, “the present administration needs to get pragmatic about health and engage in PPP. They should not see the engagement as a help to the private sector but as partners. There should be a PPP unit either in state or at federal level, which must lure the private sector.”

He said there were situations where the government has surgeons and many staff who don’t do enough operations but get salaries from the meager allocated to health. “Government doesn’t need to provide the equipment. It should tell the private sector that they’ve provided a space with roads, electricity, water and other basic amenities and then ask them to set up hospitals there.

“You can call it medical cities or villages. Government staff in those tertiary care hospitals would come and be working there. The place will serve as annexes of the teaching hospital. That way, even resident doctors will learn more. A radiology resident will know how to use an MRI, CT scan, among others. It is only in the private sector that you will have the opportunity,” he added.