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Kelechi Ohiri: Only a few Nigerians benefit from health insurance, we’ll increase coverage

Kelechi Ohiri: Only a few Nigerians benefit from health insurance, we’ll increase coverage
February 21
09:54 2024

Kelechi Ohiri, the director-general nominee for the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), said he would ensure coverage of more Nigerians under the health insurance scheme.

Ohiri spoke on Tuesday during his screening by the senate committee on health.

He said only a few Nigerians have financial protection from cost of health care.

“The number we have shows that less than seven percent of Nigerians are protected, are covered,” NAN quoted Ohiri as saying.

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“This number has been under 10 percent since inception. It is quite low, and we need to improve upon it if Nigeria is to be on the path of universal health care coverage.”

He cited policy frame work, the issue of awareness and trust as some of the reasons the number has been low.

“Health insurance has been one of the many things that the government has introduced to improve access to care and as such it was voluntary,” he said.

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“With the passage of the NHIA act in 2022, we now have health insurance as mandatory.

“For insurance to work, that mandate is a critical part of driving and improving coverage.”

Ohiri said there is no awareness of health insurance as a veritable tool for financial protection.

“Some of it is cultural, some of it is more work and effort that is needed on our path to educate fellow Nigerians,” he said.

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“We have about 70 percent of Nigerians who still pay for care out of pocket or privately, and this means that they are vulnerable to the shocks, they are vulnerable to the rising cost of health care.

“Bringing a lot of these under the umbrella of health insurance will enable us to increase coverage.”

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