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NHIS: ACPN faults implementation at tertiary level

By Chioma Obinna

As Federal Government inaugurates committees on the smooth implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Pharmacists under the auspices of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) have picked holes in the implementation of the schem in tertiary health institutions nationwide.

The pharmacists are insisting that the tertiary health institutions should only concentrate on tertiary care aspect of the Scheme. National Chairman, ACPN, Dr. Ejiro Foyibo who made the call at a press conference in Lagos, said in the present arrangement where tertiary health care facilities are rendering primary care in the NHIS, they will be the beneficiaries of the fund meant for the growth and development of Primary Health Care (PHC) in the country.

She said: “In the NHIS, 50 per cent plus 25 per cent of the Primary Healthcare Development Fund is dedicated for the provision of basic health services packages and drugs.”

Foyibo while announcing the 2011 ACPN’s National Conference tagged “Community Pharmacists and National Healthcare Development” billed to hold in Abuja next week, said there is need for the tertiary health facilities to concentrate on their core area of specialty, which is tertiary care or referral cases.

Pointing out that NHIS has a potential to bring redemption into the nation’s comatose Health Sector, Foyibo alleged that the scheme is not being well managed. “Although, a lot of money is involved in the NHIS, but Nigerians are not getting value for their money.”

She lamented that the populace keep quiet over many things, even when they are oppressed or when their rights are trampled on, we just keep quiet. On the contrary, she urged them to speak out and exercise their rights.

She queried the fact that many tertiary health facilities are currently venturing into primary care adding that the trend would hinder the growth and development of the PHCs, as many are already at the verge of collapsing due to inadequate funding.

Her words, “With this new development, if funding dedicated for the provision of basic health services packages and drugs through the NHIS, is now diverted to tertiary institutions, which are rendering primary services in addition to tertiary care, it will starve the PHCs of needed funds.”

“Ultimately, the populace will suffer it. When community people are sick, many patients will prefer to access care in tertiary facilities, but these institutions may not be easily accessible to them.

Therefore the best is for PHCs to be better developed for optimum services for patients in their localities while complex cases are now referred to tertiary hospitals.”


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