Lack of health insurance affects 100m Nigerians – Association

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The National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) says 100 million Nigerians are being pushed into extreme poverty due to what it described as “out-of-pocket payments syndrome” and non-affordable healthcare services.
The association made this known in a communiqué issued at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at the Delta State University Teaching Hospital (DELSUTH).
The communiqué, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Ibadan, was signed by the association’s National President, Dr Segun Olaopa.
“We noted that the poor universal health coverage of Nigerians across the country is affecting their healthy living.
“Nigeria is still abysmally low in health insurance coverage as only about three per cent of the citizens, mostly in the formal sector, are covered.
“This is disturbing given the over 43 years of conception of social health insurance and 14 years of introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme.
“Consequently, about 100 million Nigerians are still being pushed into extreme poverty because they have to pay for healthcare, and a life expectancy of less than 52 years,” it said.
“To meet the 2030 deadline set by all members of the UN to achieve the Universal Health Coverage for all, there must be improved access to quality care, equity in financing and allocation of efficiency resources.’’
It called on government at all levels to give Nigerians improved access to quality healthcare for a productive workforce.
The association also called for increased budgetary allocation to residency training programme at all levels for improved quality healthcare delivery in the country.
The association said the poor funding of the residency training programmes affects some of its member.
“It is worrisome that funding for residency training was not factored in the 2019 Appropriation bill submitted by the Executive to the National Assembly.
“The casualisation of medical practice by some of the Chief Executives and Medical Directors of hospitals contributes to the fall in manpower due to emigration of doctors.
“We noticed the continued sack and victimisation of our members across the country; forefront is the case at Jos University Teaching Hospital where some of our members were sacked without regards to the extant residency training guideline.
“We also observed with dismay that our members in the State University Teaching Hospitals (SUTHs) still groan under the prolonged non-payment and under payment of their monthly salaries with attendant poor funding of residency training,’’ the communiqué read in part.
The association noted that its members are been victimised by some state governments by non-payment of their entitlements.
“Some State Governments that owe our members should urgently regularise their salaries and pay all accrued arrears to our members across the federation.
“We draw the public attention to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Teaching Hospital Ogbomoso, Abia State University Teaching Hospital and Kogi State Specialist Hospital where doctors are been owed months salaries and other emolument.
“The heads of health institutions are working against the interest of our members and residency training guidelines should desist from such as it is inimical to the present harmony in the health sector,” it said.
The association further called for life insurance policies for doctors and other health care workers in the federation in line with international standards and practices. (NAN)

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