• Eight million Nigerians enrolled in insurance since 2018

    Eight million nigerians enrolled in insurance since 2018 - nigeria newspapers online
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    The Chairman of the Forum of Chief Executive Officers of State Social Health Insurance Agencies, Dr. Simeon Onyemaechi said 8,107,795 Nigerians have been enrolled in the health insurance scheme across 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory since 2018.

    He noted that Rivers and Akwa Ibom states are not part of the scheme.

    Onyemaechi, who made this known at the first quarter meeting of the forum in Abuja on Friday stated that Universal Health Coverage would not be achieved if any state is left behind in the scheme.

    He, however, said insecurity in some states, high cost of medicines and medical consumables due to inflation, inability to utilise services, poor political will, and organised labour resistance are disrupting service delivery and enrollment drive.

    He said, “The informal sector which accounts for 70 per cent of the population contributes less than one million out of the eight million people recorded, and there is a need for increased political will and awareness.”

    He called for greater involvement in supporting health insurance initiatives.

    “Collaboration with national health authorities and ministries is essential in ensuring the success of health insurance programmes nationwide, this underscores the need to prioritise the health and well-being of all citizens.

    “I call on stakeholders to rally around the vision of Universal Health Coverage and make it a reality in Nigeria. With active engagement with relevant authorities, I am optimistic in overcoming challenges and ensuring that Nigeria gets it right in its pursuit of comprehensive health insurance coverage,” he added.

    Also speaking, the Director General of the National Health Insurance Authority, Dr. Kelechi Ohiri, reiterated the government’s commitment to improving healthcare accessibility in the country.

    “You have our support, don’t just see us as just regulators but as partners in this journey to expand access to Nigerians and reduce the health poverty in our country.

    “NHIA is working with pharmaceutical manufacturers and aggregators on the medicines initiative to see how we can keep the cost of drugs lower by aggregating and getting economies of scale,” Ohiri said.

    Similarly, the Permanent Secretary and CEO of the Lagos State Health Management Agency, Dr. Emmanuella Zamba, emphasised the need for inclusiveness for vulnerable populations.

    Zamba reiterated the need for coordinated efforts and strategic governance in advancing health insurance agendas.

    “I urge colleagues to explore additional sources of funding and support to enhance health insurance coverage,” she said.

    On Monday, the Federation of Nigeria Pharmaceutical Industry Associations proposed the creation of N600bn Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Development Fund at five per cent interest over a minimum of seven to 10-year tenure.

    The group made the call during a forum hosted by FeNPIA in honour of the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Pate.

    The group said the fund would support the local production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients, vaccines, critical supply chain interventions, and Research & Development among others.

    Speaking during the event, the President of FeNPIA, Dr. Okey Akpa, enumerated the various factors that inhibit the growth of the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria.

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