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NMA proposes community health insurance to tackle Nigerians’ health expenses

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Oluremi Serrano

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has charged government at all levels to redirect attention to community health insurance as a panacea for the 70 per cent out-of-pocket expenditure incurred by Nigerians.

The association said the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) which was flagged off since June 2005 has covered less than 7 per cent of the Nigerian population.

Dr Kayode Obembe, NMA president, said this recently in a statement to mark this year’s International Day of Universal Health Coverage commemorated every December 12, in Abuja.

The NMA said, “The most primitive and primordial form of health financing is out of pocket. It is curative, has budget constraint, providers are not prepaid and prepared, therefore, the need to ask for deposit even in public hospitals.”

“The community-based insurance triangle should be established at every geopolitical ward of the federation. The fund should be channelled from NHIS to community level with the Health Management Organisation (HMO) as the accounting partner.”

The NMA also provided guidelines on how to benefit from package, account signatories, source of premiums and other ways of raising funds including tax from tobacco, alcohol, air travel tickets and value added tax.

“Community-based health insurance with foundation laid on ward health organisation, health care providers, and HMO is the panacea for achieving universal coverage and sustainable development goals.”

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