The Minister of Health tells the NHIS to adopt aggressive marketing
By Winifred Ogbebor - Leadership
The Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, has tasked the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), to adopt aggressive marketing to extend health coverage to all Nigerians nationwide.
He said this became necessary following the poor coverage of Nigerians by the scheme, saying that three years before a target to reach 30 per cent of Nigerians with health insurance cover, only eight out of every 100 Nigerians have any sort of health cover.
The minister disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja, while inaugurating governing boards for five health agencies and hospitals in Abuja.
The minister stated that at the end of last year, 2012, the scheme has recorded eight percent coverage mostly through the launch of community-based social health insurance and voluntary contributions.
He said, "Meeting target will require aggressive marketing of various products of NHIS. Present laws allow voluntary purchase of health cover, though legislation to make health cover mandatory is under consideration."
Among para-state agencies with newly inaugurated boards are NHIS, National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), National Eye Centre (NEC), National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), and National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD).
NHIS and NPHCDA are expected to lead efforts to deepen the reach of basic health care, as well as strengthen efforts to eradicate poliomyelitis in the country.
Chukwu also suggested a collaboration between the NPHCDA and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control to target what Chukwu called, "the polio front," and the role of environmental sanitation to keep communities polio free as herd immunity [the result of continued immunisation of communities over time] continues to increase.
He said, "Many states have not recorded a single case, but they stand in danger of suffering a reversal if we do not do something about it."
Borno state last week reported 14 new cases of polio, making it the largest discovery in recent times.