NHIA Pledges to Ensure that all Nigerians have Access to Affordable, Good Quality Health Care

Posted on: Fri 02-06-2023

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has assured that the agency will ensure that every Nigerian irrespective of their social economic status, tribe or religion have access to affordable and good quality health care without having to bear the burden of paying for them.

The Authority is working to address bottlenecks that will hinder effective implementation of the National Health Insurance Act, 2022 which has made health insurance mandatory for all Nigerians.

Director General of Authority, Prof Mohammed Sambo, who disclosed this at workshop organized for desk officers of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) yesterday in Abuja, said that the NHIA has introduced a reform which ensures that about 80 percent of the cost for cancer treatment is taken away from cancer patients through a cost-sharing system whereby Roche pays 50 per cent of the cost of treatment, while the NHIA pays 30 per cent and the patient pays 20 per cent. Roche

Represented by the General Manager, Formal Sector Program, Dr. Jonathan Eke, the Director General noted that a lot of innovations have been introduced in the health insurance in the country, and the NHIA wants the enrollees to be aware of them adding a lot of pharmaceutical companies are coming into the national health medicine supply to provide drugs for enrollees.

Sambo observed that the Roche partnership is giving the agency some of the very potent drugs that can be used for some forms of cancer.

He said, “However, there are a lot of other pharmaceutical companies that are coming in, not just for cancer. That fits within the framework of a bigger picture, which is the national health medicine supply. We are liaising with most of the pharmaceutical companies to provide drugs for our enrollees. “For cancer care we have a cost-sharing approach to it.

Even with the work we are doing with Roach; Roach is taking 50 per cent of the cost, NHIA will take 30 per cent, and the enrollee will take 20 per cent of the cost, which is something. If you look at it in terms of percentage, they have already taken away 80 per cent of the cost from the enrollee. It is a good way to start because these things are very expensive. The aim is to reduce the burden on the patient.”

Ab initio, cancer treatment has always been covered but people did not know.. What we used to have before within the NHIS, is that, we used to have drugs for cancer, but they were the first generation drugs Cyclophosphamide, but there are newer generation drugs that are in the market now, and that have better efficacy to take care of a lot of these cancers. When you do certain surgeries that are for cancer, it is still part of cancer treatment. There are so many ways to treat cancer, even radiotherapy, drugs, surgeries, they are already covered”.

The NHIA boss explained that the essence of the workshop was to sensitize the desk officers who represent enrollees at the various MDAs; tell them about the new things so that they can go back to their respective MDAs to begin to educate the people about all the things happening in the NHIA,and other things that they need to know and how the program works.

Also speaking, Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation,Mahmud Cambari, who was represented by the Director Occupational Health, Safety and Environment, Dr.Comfort Adeosun, , said that the programme was organized to educate and provide information that will inform decision making by the formal sector enrollees where we fall into as civil servants.

According to him, “If this is not done, it will affect the implementation of the new Act. So, in order to bridge that gap we have organized this workshop. The people brought here today are the NHIA Desk Officers. These Desk Officers are your point of contacts when you get to any MDA. These officers need to know that things have changed since the NHIA Act was signed in August 2022.”