2 trillion needed for universal health coverage – Dr. Ladele
The President of the Health and Managed Care Association of Nigeria (HMCAN). Dr. Tunde Ladele, said about two trillion Naira is needed for Nigeria to achieve universal health coverage for its 170 million populace.
Dr. Ladele, declared this recently during an interactive program on television continental (TVC),Lagos.
While reacting to the recent N351bn allegedly mismanagenaged by the Health Maintainance Organisations( HMOs), he explained that the amount is nothing compared to what is actually needed to cover the entire populace.
“When someone is talking about N351bn, we haven’t even touched half of the money needed to insure the whole Nigerian.. the N351bn was supposed to cover civil servants for the supposed 12 years since the inception of the scheme, if you divide this by the 2 million civil servants, you will get roughly about N14 in a year per person for premium, so there is really no mismanaged fund here. But has the health indices of the civil servants improved, yes it has. They can testify to that”, he said.
Reacting to the call for audited account by the house of assembly, he said not all HMOs are doing public health insurance. So you can’t compel them to do so. He said;”the HMOs that are involved in public health insurance are probably not up to 34, and out of those ones, not all of them agree that they are our members. But our members have all done what we are supposed to do, because we told them to come and check us. Any of our members that have not complied is on his own”.
According to Ladele, health insurance is still difficult to sell in Nigeria Which is why more than 10 years after instituting the scheme, not many are keen to buy into it. “Some Nigerians, based on cultural, social and religious affiliations are not accepting health insurance. if the few that are practicing it are showing that it can work or if there is some degree of compulsion in making people adapt it, it will help. Let people (those in private sector and artisans) pay some amount of money to key into it, no matter how little,” said Ladele, adding that the payment of at least N500 a month into the pool could give a family access to a doctor and even a health care provider.
To avoid misuse of power by executive secretaries of NHIS, Dr. Ladele, called on federal government to inaugurate a council member for the scheme, adding that the appointment should be from professional level not merely party patronage.