By Luminous Jannamike
Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has lamented the poor state of Nigeria’s healthcare system, saying only four per cent of Nigerians are covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The Minister, who stated this while fielding questions from journalists in Abuja, however, disclosed that the federal government had put in place measures to reverse the appalling situation.
He said, “Part of the challenges we face is the near collapse of the healthcare system. But one of the unique things this government has done is to put money in the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, BHCPF.
“Fifty per cent of the money will flow to NHIS to take care of medical expenses of our people so that they will not have to pay out of their pocket for treatment. We will also use this measure to grow NHIS enrollment. As of today, only four per cent of Nigerians is covered by the scheme.
“We are encouraging the states and the FCT to set up their own health insurance systems. No state will benefit from the BHCPF if they don’t have functional health insurance and contributory scheme.”
With respect to medical tourism vis-à-vis the concern of the Buhari administration, Adewole said: “We’re focusing on three main reasons Nigerians go out of the country for medical treatment. They are cancer, kidney problems, and cardiac issues.
“We’re investing in cancer now so that we can develop the capacity. At the National Hospital, we have two cancer treatment machines. Any moment from now the second machine will start working. The two machines will be able to treat 200 persons daily. We’re also supporting Sokoto, Enugu, and Edo. We will do this all over the country.’’