Chairman, Oceanic Health, Dr. Abdul Wahab Ibraheem

Martins Ifijeh

The Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Oceanic Health Management Limited, Dr. Charles Onwuzuluigbo has called on the Federal Government to make the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Act mandatory for employers of labour of five staff and above to access health insurance.

He said despite all the government has done to see that health insurance was available to all, what is still missing was the fact that some employers of labour have still not keyed into the scheme and the benefits that follow.

Speaking during the health management organisation’s 10th year anniversary in Lagos recently, Dr. Onwuzuluigbo said for government to adequately achieve this, it should ensure its hospitals were equipped with the needed personnel and facilities so that lack of access to healthcare will not be the issue.

“Something should also be done about the informal sector, which remains an untapped sector for health insurance. We know government has put various initiatives in place to bring them into the fold, like the community health insurance scheme, and a lot of other informal sector schemes presently ongoing, but there still remain an apathy,” he said.

The Chairman, Oceanic Health, Dr. Abdul Wahab Ibraheem said ten years was a milestone for the HMO, as it has grown better and stronger when compared with the humble days of the organisation, adding that its mandate of making healthcare more accessible and affordable to Nigerians has been achieved, and was still being achieved.

According to him, “the government has done well with the various efforts at making health insurance available to all, and in the next five to ten years more people would have ended up embracing the fairly new scheme in the country,” he said.

He encourage Nigerians, both poor and rich to take advantage of the enormous benefits of health insurance, adding that, “for now health insurance is somewhat limited to the formal sector. The informal sector has not yet keyed into it. Those are the people selling on the streets, retailers, self employed, among others.”