The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Ali Pate, has revealed that only 10 per cent of Nigerians are covered in the nation’s health insurance scheme.
Mr Pate disclosed this on Tuesday at the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Operational Guidelines unveiling ceremony in Abuja.
“It’s been 40 years or more that Nigeria has been embarking on efforts to build an insurance cover. Today, about eight to nine per cent of Nigerians have insurance cover. That is something we should be proud of, but it also is something we should not be proud of because we know that 90 per cent of Nigerians are not covered. So our work is not done,” Mr Pate stated.
According to the minister, the move aimed to redefine the nation’s healthcare system and ensure every citizen lives a healthier and more prosperous life.
Recalling that the journey to ensure that Nigerians are covered with health insurance began some 40 years ago, he added that the country has made tremendous progress in that regard but admitted that the progress made so far is not something to be proud of.
The minister, who said “all is not yet well” with Nigeria’s health sector, lamented that citizens pay out of pocket for healthcare services despite the current administration’s progress.
“Many people are being pushed into poverty as they have to pay out of pocket to access health services. That is the situation that we are in. But President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as part of his Renewed Hope Agenda for Nigeria, is committed to changing this country for the better. And for us, under his leadership, we are committed to changing the trajectory of health in Nigeria. And this milestone that we are witnessing today is an important manifestation of that, even though it’s still a long journey.
“In recent years, with the enactment of the NHIA 2022 and now with the operational guidelines, it marked a turning point where it is mandatory that the sub-national units are really factored in, and the National Health Act where there is a fund for the vulnerable group. So we are now set to execute and make faster progress,” he stated.