By Asma’u Ahmad
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), has called for the establishment of community based health insurance scheme by both the State and Local Governments to address disease burden at every locality in the country.
The president of the association, Prof. Mike Ogirima, made this call at the NMA leadership retreat, organised for Chief Executive Officers of tertiary health institutions in Nigeria on Friday in Abuja. Newsmen report that the retreat has the theme: “Strengthening Health Care Delivery in Nigeria through Efficient Leadership.”
Prof. Ogirima said that NHIS only covered one per cent of the populace while 99 per cent had yet to be covered.
He, however, said that the establishment of the scheme in rural communities would complement NHIS, which only covered the federal civil servants.
The NMA president noted that such efforts would as well assist in strengthening health care delivery in the country.
He said that the poorest of the poor in the society could work boldly to any hospital and access the desired health care services.
“The community health insurance scheme is a system whereby at ward level, we organise every household, every month, maybe in a particular family, you pay N500 but that does not mean 100 per cent of the people will be sick in a month. “Maybe, four per cent of the total number of people; So you are generating more money to take care of the entire populace in that community or ward,” he said.
Prof. Ogirima, who identified the rural communities as having the highest disease burden, however, said that NHIS will be inefficient without extending it to the rural areas through community based health insurance scheme.
He stated the strategies to actualise the scheme to include; advocating to the State and Local Governments to utilise the existing cooperative societies constituted by market women and farmers in the villages.
The don said that the former sector alone could not be enjoying the NHIS, adding that the informal sector had the informal way of doing things as with the market women among others. According to him, they engage in daily contributions for their welfare among other things and such cooperative societies can be keyed into the health insurance system.