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April 14, 2024
You are currently viewing Nigeria’s stride toward universal health coverage evident in state health schemes – CEOs

Nigeria’s stride toward universal health coverage evident in state health schemes – CEOs

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By Abujah Racheal

The Forum of CEOs of State Social Health Insurance Agencies in the country, says Nigeria has made significant progress toward achieving universal health coverage by establishing state social health insurance schemes.

The Chairman of the forum, Dr Simeon Onyemaechi, who is also the Managing Director/CEO of Anambra State Health Insurance Agency, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

Onyemaechi said the schemes, implemented in all states except Rivers, were aimed at providing affordable and accessible healthcare for all Nigerians.

“Currently, Nigeria has the second worst out-of-pocket health expenditure globally, with nearly 70 per cent of healthcare costs being paid directly by individuals.

“This has resulted in limited access to necessary healthcare services and has pushed many citizens into financial hardship and poverty,” he said.

Onyemaechi emphasised that Nigeria, currently ranking second globally in out-of-pocket health expenditure, has witnessed positive changes since the introduction of the State Social Health Insurance Scheme in 2016.

Over 5.5 million Nigerians have gained access to healthcare through various programs, including the formal sector, informal sector, and equity programs.

He further noted the success of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, benefitting over 2 million vulnerable Nigerians in Primary Health Centres across states.

This has contributed to a notable increase in health insurance coverage, rising from less than three percent in 2016 to approximately seven percent today.

While acknowledging the role of the forum in promoting peer learning and strategic engagement among sub-national health insurance agencies, Onyemaechi noted the need for sustained efforts to achieve the 2030 goal of universal health coverage.

He highlighted the Lancet Commission report’s recommendation for the establishment of State Social Health Insurance Schemes as a crucial solution to Nigeria’s health financing gap.

Onyemaechi urged attention to be drawn to the issue, emphasising the importance of placing universal health coverage on the political agenda to ensure continued progress in improving healthcare access for all Nigerians.

(NAN) www.nannews.ng

Edited by Emmanuel Yashim

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