By Chioma Obinna
HealthCare Providers Association of Nigeria, HCPAN has called for unequivocal and unwavering political will to drive health insurance and Universal Health Coverage, UHC, in Nigeria.
The President of HCPAN, Dr Adeyeye Arigbabuwo who made the call during the 15th Annual General Meeting of the Association in Lagos said State governments should buy into social health insurance without prejudice of looking at funds of support of Federal government.
Arigbabuwo at the event themed: Consolidating Health Insurance: The Winning Strategies”, said state governments should buy into the health insurance with a primary aim of the love and passion they have for the needs of their citizenry.
“Health is wealth. An agreed National template for floating state support social health insurance should therefore be patterned to mimick the NHIS remuneration or a dozen more times better to encourage a buy in.”
Speaking on the challenges facing their members in the smooth running of health insurance, Arigbabuwo said there is the need for the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, to get its rudder and compass well positioned to carry the followers along as she plays her regulatory roles.
He said Nigeria is not an island in the global concerns of UHC, hence, “the need for providers of healthcare delivery deserve more than the peanuts that are never matched with the actuarial requirements and recommendations.
“There is a need for greater transparency much more than ever before. We need trust. We need to weigh our parameters and work on data. The private sector in Nigeria needs a better enabling environment from the government.”
He further called for cohesion of inter and intra professional relationships in the health sector saying health insurance has been found to be the best and lasting solution to healthcare financing.
In his contribution, the Executive Secretary of the NHIS, Prof. Mohammed Sambo announced that the Agency is currently working on resolving the many challenges facing the Scheme with a view to ensuring that all Nigerians have access to healthcare.
“The Scheme is 20 years old now and has undergone so many challenges. What we are trying to now is to tackle the challenges. Come January 2020, there will be a lot of changes. Some of the changes are covered under our rebranding agenda. We want to have credible organization with a high degree of transparency, efficiency and accountability so that every actor in the NHIS will be happy.”
Former Minister of Health, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi who commended HCPAN for organizing such a conference to look at issues surrounding health insurance insisted that if health must be made available and affordable to generality of Nigerians, there is need for effective health insurance.
He said Nigeria needs a workable NHIS with a very big advocacy programme that would intimate the ordinary Nigerians what is going on and how they can combine to make it work.
The high-point of the event was the presentation of awards to Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi and Dr Tosin Ajayi of First Foundation.