Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of representatives, says over a 100 million Nigerians cannot afford to treat malaria in public hospitals.
Dogara said this while declaring open an investigative hearing on the alleged inhuman treatment of healthcare providers.
The speaker expressed worry that there were no measures to protect these Nigerians from exorbitant cost of healthcare services.
“Regrettably, there is no mechanism to protect vulnerable families from the catastrophic effects of the exorbitant cost of healthcare services in Nigeria,” Dogara said.
“Poor families, who constitute over 67 percent of our population, (well in excess of 100 million Nigerians), cannot afford to pay hospital bills even for treatment of malaria in public health facilities, nor for routine ante-natal services.
“If we must achieve desired outcomes and changes, there is a compelling need to expand the coverage levels of NHIS, currently estimated to be about 4-5 percent of Nigerians, mostly in the formal sector.
“A scenario where even this abysmally low coverage is attributable to those in paid employment and other types of formal sector creates suspicion of lack of creativity and innovation on the part of key actors in the health insurance industry in Nigeria, especially HMOs.”
He said no nation could achieve a milestone in its health sector without reducing out-of-pocket spending for health services.
Dogara called on the relevant stakeholders to proffer solutions that would help the country have a better health care system.