By Peter Duru
MAKURDI—Despite the rising cost of healthcare services in the country, indications emerged yesterday that only four percent of Nigerians have been covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, since its inception in 2005.
Benue State Coordinator of NHIS, Dr. Salawudeen Sikiru, who made this known in Makurdi at a health policy dialogue with the theme Universal Health Coverage in Benue State Through Sustainable Financing Mechanism, organised by the White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria, WRAN, attributed the development to the indifference.
Sikiru, who urged Nigerians to embrace the scheme, said: “Since the scheme took off in 2005, we have recorded just three to four percent coverage.
“It is an embarrassment. Even countries that started several years after us, like Ghana, Rwanda and Kenya, have hit over 50 percent coverage.”
In her speech, the Programme Manager of WRAN, Mrs. Afoke Igwe, said the gathering was intended to further propagate the Advocacy for Community Health Insurance and Enabling Environment for Health Financing & Evidence, Achieve campaign.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Joseph Kumba, in his remarks, said Governor Samuel Ortom’s administration had prioritised the financing of healthcare delivery in the state.