Poor implementation crippling NHIS, stakeholders lament

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Poor implementation, according to stakeholders, is to blame for the National Health Insurance policy’s inability to advance toward providing universal health care.

According to them, the country’s population will continue to live shorter lives until this deficiency is fully remedied.

At a one-day validation meeting of the policy brief on the full implementation of the NHI Law, which was held in Ado Ekiti on Saturday and was organized by the Centre for Social Justice in collaboration with Palladium and the United States of America for International Development, the stakeholders spoke (USAID).

Speaking at the workshop, the Chairman, of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ekiti chapter, Com. Kolapo Olatunde and staff of the National Health Insurance Authority, Dr Jide Oloyede, said National Health Insurance Law that could have made the policy mandatory for all Nigerians couldn’t be holistically implemented due to unemployment and poverty.
The NLC Chairman said many of the workers in the states, who had keyed into the policy couldn’t access quality healthcare in their various facilities as a result of epileptic remittances of their deductions into the accounts of service providers.

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He said the programme could only be made compulsory for all workers if the N30,000 minimum wage and the consequential adjustment are implemented across the board.

An expert and staff of NHIA, Dr Jide Oloyede, said that the cankerworms of poverty and joblessness are issues to be considered before holistic implementation of the law, but hinted that government has special programmes that capture poor Nigerians.

“What we have noticed is that the health insurance programme is well patronised by the federal government agencies. Health insurance is now mandatory because the NHI law stipulates that it is going to be affected.

” The authority is trying to create avenues to ensure that many poor and vulnerable people are captured, after that, the law will be enforced and sanctions await those defying the order”.

The General Manager, of Ekiti State Health Insurance, Dr Aderiye, said 70% of Ekiti people didn’t have the National Identification Number, saying this was impeding their accessibility to the expected healthcare system under the insurance scheme.

“Knowing that many people are incapacitated financially, the government is introducing equity plan covering elderly, physically challenged, children, pregnant women, and poor Nigerians”.

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However, stakeholders at the event, agreed that transparency and accountability are required in the management of the policy, calling for the deployment of skilful human resources for effective management, while also seeking political patronage to make it all-inclusive.

“The government should provide incentives for formal and informal participants to lure more people into it and it must make the economy stronger. When people are poor, they won’t be able to enrol in health insurance”, they said.

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