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95% Nigerians not insured —Health Minister

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The minister for health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has lamented the condition of the Nigerian healthcare system saying that 95 per cent of about the 190 million Nigerian population is still not insured.

Adewole said despite all efforts by the government to improve healthcare delivery, Nigerians have not keyed into the various health insurance schemes the government had set up.

Adewole spoke on Thursday at the reunion symposium of the 1998 set of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos.

The minister, who was represented by the Chairman Medical Advisory Committee of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Olufemi Fasanmade, gave the keynote address on, “Health systems improvement: achieving universal health coverage.”

He noted that that the government and the individuals had roles to play in ensuring the country achieves universal health coverage.

While calling on the private sector to also invest in healthcare, he said government must be responsible for the provision of funds while the individuals access the various insurance schemes.

“For Nigeria to attain the position it should in health care system, government must ensure there is adequate funding, appropriation and release of fund for healthcare to align with the benchmark by the World Health Organisation.

“The private sector should play their part, the federal and state government alone cannot provide healthcare. The federal government ordinarily should not be the ones to construct primary healthcare centers. It is the duty of local government to do that.

“The private sector also needs to do their part. Instead of sponsoring only sport or entertainment which many of them do during Christmas and New Year. They can also support government through various initiatives and foundations devoted to make up for the deficiency in the health sector.

“The individual part is the biggest part which unfortunately is not being done. We have over 95% of Nigerians not being insured! Government cannot force you to get insured.

“People need to go and register to be part of either National Healthcare Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and other insurance schemes so that when a person is brought to hospital, doctors can focus to treat them rather than do you have money for admission which is what happens in this side of Nigeria.

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“The major role is in the space of individual. You need to seek the universal health coverage through using all the insurance schemes including state, national and even private. Nobody can determine how much he needs for his next admission or his next ailment. It is something we all need to do. With that Nigeria will enjoy better healthcare indices.

Making remarks, the Provost of the college, Prof Afolabi Lesi thanked the old students for the kind gestures.

The coordinator of the set, Dr. Olubunmi Johnjo said over N12million was raised by 70 out of the about 200 doctors that graduated from the college in December 1998.

He expressed the readiness of the Alumni body to collaborate with relevant agencies to improve the Nigerian healthcare

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