The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has called for improved enrollment in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) from the current less than five per cent coverage.
The association’s National President, Dr Francis Faduyile, made the call in a statement on Sunday in Lagos in preparation for the 2018 Physicians’ Week holding between Oct. 21 and 27.
Faduyile said that the physician’s week was a week-long annual event of NMA aimed at celebrating medical and dental practitioners.
According to him, the theme for the 2018 Physicians’ Week is: “Universal Health Coverage – Leave No One Behind”.
“In recognition of the importance of health financing in the achievement of UHC, a fundamental strategy to address our abysmal poor health indices, there is urgent need to improve our enrollment in our NHIS from the current less than five per cent coverage.
“Nigerians are increasingly losing hope in NHIS as a tool which is vital to the attainment of UHC.
“To achieve UHC, it is therefore important to strengthen the NHIS and explore other health financing system like the Community Based Health Insurance which some states have keyed into.
“This scheme will significantly cater for the informal sector, especially for the rural dwellers.
“Therefore, in our journey toward achieving UHC we must resolve to work together with relevant stakeholders including the NMA and other professional associations in the health sector as well as partners and donor agencies,” he said.
The president also urged leaders to muster political will to deliver quality and effective healthcare services in Nigeria.
He commended Federal Government’s effort to reinvigorate the Primary Healthcare (PHC) system by building PHCs in all wards of the federation to ensure provision of affordable healthcare to all Nigerians.
“There is however need to urgently equip the PHCs and consider offering free medical services for the aged, women and children.
“In addition to the foregoing, we also need to address the issue for human resource for health.
“The ratio of health workers to patients to reduce inefficiency by training and retraining of health personnel, welfare, remuneration and equitable distribution of the health workforce across the nation as well as accountability and prudent management of available fund must also be ensured,” he said.
On the sub-theme of the event, “Closing the Gap in Polio Eradication Strategy in Nigeria by 2019, the Role of NMA”, Faduyile called on governments to join hands with other critical stakeholders in the effort and determination to ensure polio is finally kicked out of Nigeria.
“Polio as we all know is one of the preventable childhood diseases that affect mainly children under five years of age.
“As you are aware, Nigeria is again at the brink of being declared a polio free country by 2019.
“Nigeria has had its name struck off the list of countries abhorring polio after a two-year free period in 2014,” the NMA president said.