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Expand coverage of NHIS now, NMA tells FG

…Raises alarm over medical quackery

By Chioma Obinna

The Lagos State Branch of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA has called on the Federal Government to urgently review upward the number of Nigerians under the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, with a view to achieving the Universal Health Coverage, UHC even as it raised alarm over the indiscriminate issuance of medical report by unqualified personnel.

doctors

The Lagos State Chairman of NMA, Dr. Saliu Oseni, who made the call in Lagos during its 2018 National Physicians’ Week with the theme: ‘Universal Health Coverage: Leaving No One Behind,’ with Sub-theme ‘Closing The Gap In Polio Eradication Strategy in Nigeria by 2019’ said low coverage of NHIS was seriously impeding success in the attainment of UHC in the country.

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Oseni noted that expansion of the scheme would ensure the delivery of quality and affordable healthcare for all Nigerians, particularly in Lagos.

“The Lagos State has taken the lead and bold step in achieving UHC with the introduction of the Lagos State NHIS and other programmes. We hope to liaise with the government in ensuring that all stakeholders subscribe to it, while also looking into key challenges with its operationalisation with the aim to ensure fairness to all,” he stated.

Continuing, Oseni raised alarm over what he described as ‘medical quackery,’ in the country, stating that the current situation was becoming embarrassing to the profession and the country at large.

He cited the example of the recent rampant abuse of medical report and medical certificate of fitness which led to the directive by the Federal Ministry of Health that all medical reports and related documents must carry the doctor’s stamp.

He said: “This step is intended to reduce the incidence of fakes medical certificate of fitness, most especially, protect the general public,”

On the sub-theme ‘Closing The Gap In Polio Eradication Strategy in Nigeria by 2019, Oseni said the Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board under the supervision of the Ministry of Health had been working hard on the eradication of polio in Lagos State through the various polio immunisation programmes and other strategies.

“As professionals, it will be important for us to look inward at our participation in the effort to keep polio out of this state in particular and in Nigerian in general.”

In his remarks,  the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris traced factors hindering UHC in the country to include inadequate financing, weak governance and enforcement, inadequate infrastructure and poor quality service.

Idris who was represented by the Director of Medical Services in the Health Service Commission, Dr Bolaji Adebiyi said household poverty and inefficient risk pooling were listed as part of the causes hindering the take-off of UHC in the country.

“The goal of UHC was to significantly improve the health of all citizens to enable them to live fully healthy and fulfilling lives by ensuring that Nigeria successfully implements current national and global priorities such as the Sustainable Development Goals, MDG, the UHC, Vision 20.2020.”

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