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April 21, 2024
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NHIS: UNICEF official seeks creation of platforms for experience sharing

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By Millicent Ifeanyichukwu

Mrs Ijeoma Agbo, a public health specialist at the
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has called for creation of a platform where Nigerians can share their experiences about the National Health Insurance Scheme.

Agbo made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.

Agbo said that such a platform would enable the relevant authorities to be aware of participants’ impression and general assessment of NHIS in terms of activities and services.

According to her, such documented impressions and experiences would give room for improvement.

“This will go a long way to make our government to know if the people are really accessing and getting the necessary services or not.

“It is important that we have an effective healthcare system which ensures that individuals and families can afford essential medical care.

“That will mean we are making progress in the SDG3 which aims to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages. This is key in the National Health Insurance Act,” Agbo said.

The health specialist said that universal health coverage required a multi-sectoral and collaborative approach.

She said that all hands must be on deck to achieve the objectives of the Act, adding that there was need to increase public awareness of the Act to enable more people to enrol into the NHIS.

“UNICEF is committed to working collaboratively with governments, community structures, the private sector and all stakeholders in implementing sustainable solutions to all forms of barriers affecting the Act.

“We will continue to support mobilising and leveraging resources to ensure that all Nigerians will have access to the healthcare they need.

“Our doors are open to partnerships, outreaches, media campaigns,” she said.

Agbo added that UNICEF would continue to leverage community structures such as religious leaders, educational institutions and traditional leaders to pass useful information.

“In spite of government’s continuous efforts to provide and strengthen our healthcare services, you still find that overwhelming majority of the population does not have access to proper healthcare services,” she said.

Agbo said that the role of community structures are important.

“We need community leaders, churches, mosques and educational institutions to educate citizens on the benefits of health insurance and the different plans and processes on which we can enrol.

“Achieving unversal health coverage requires a multi-sectoral and collaborative approach involving government agencies, healthcare providers, donor-agencies, civil society organisations, the private sector, communities and the media,” she said. (NAN)

Edited by Ijeoma Popoola

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