By Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
In a bid to ensure that every Nigerian has access to quality healthcare services, the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti (FETHI) is to begin a robust community Based Health Insurance Scheme (CBHIS) in three communities in Ekiti State.
The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the tertiary health institution, Dr. Kunle Ajayi, said the CBHIS would complement the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) that covers only 1.5 per cent of 174 million Nigerians drawn majorly from the formal sector of the economy.
Ajayi, who spoke at a workshop commemorating the 2018 edition of the World Health Day, said the towns that will be used as pilots will be unveiled soon.
At the workshop, the trio of Mr. Kayode Ogundola, Dr. Oluwaserimi Ajetumobi and Dr Charles Olomofe delivered their lectures on â€˜Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhereâ€™, while Mr. Uche Asiegu from the Customer Care Unit of the Federal Ministry of Health, spoke on â€˜Servicom Issues: Need For Improvementâ€™.
The CMD regretted that only a small fraction of the countryâ€™s population were covered by NHIS owing to the fact that many states have not keyed into the programme, saying the CBHIS would widen the scope and make Nigerians to live in good health.
â€œThe issue of healthcare is very key to the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. That was why this government has been improving
facilities of health institutions and giving incentives to our medical
personnel to checkmate brain drain.
â€œSome states have not helped in making the NHIS to touch large majority of Nigerians because they have not keyed into it. Majorly, the scheme was efficient in the formal sector, leaving behind the private and informal sectors to suffer.
â€œIn a state like Ekiti, the NHIS legal framework is in the House of Assembly, while some states didnâ€™t even think about it at all.
â€œWe have done our work very well and the feasibility studies of why the CBHIS failed in the past. We have reached out to philanthropists in Ekiti to fund the scheme for the poor market men and women, artisans and others who canâ€™t afford it, so that everybody can have improved access to healthcare services.
â€œWhen everybody is covered, the mortality rate will reduce and the life expectancy of our citizens will increase,â€ he said.
In his presentation , Dr Ajetomobi , said the universal health coverage was a critical aspect of the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) of the federal government, which he said must be effective to ensure equity in health care services. She said : â€œNigeria has about 34,000 health facilities which can be deployed to enhance universal health coverage. But the skewed distribution of health personnel and lack of sensitization has made the NHIS ineffective and the limited scope it covered also discouraged the people. â€œUnder normal circumstances, the enrollees must enjoy the preventive, promotive, palliative , curative and rehabilitative aspects of healthcare for him to be satisfactorily taken care of apart from the fact that the services must be accessible and should not bring any financial hardship to themâ€.
An health insurance expert, Ogundola advised that for any insurance scheme to be effective in the country, governments must remove the administrative and bureaucratic bottlenecks as well build the confidence of Nigerians in such policy by reducing its cost. He debunked the insinuation that the insurance scheme doesnâ€™t cover the treatment of chronic disease like cancer. A customer care officer from the federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Asiegwu , said the federal government established the servicom to protect patients, who were being shortchanged by medical personnel by way of reducing accessibility to good services. He urged the enrollees to always report any noticeable sharp practices to the unit for prompt action.