Sunday, November 28, 2021

    Health insurance: why Nigerians must be educated

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    Bisola Akinlabi
    Akinlabi Bisola is a health and meds journalist with a deep background in Public Health Education and with a B.Sc in Health Education and Masters in Public Health Educator. You can catch up on her articles on her website

    Mama Tola is one of the day old chics at Oluyole area of Ibadan, this business is her only source of income and being the bread winner of the family it’s not been easy as the business she is into is seasonal, around November which is one of their low patronage period and for mama Tola, this is a serious issue as the financial pressure on her is more than her income and this is adding to her blood pressure rate.

    On a fateful she was having symptoms of hypertension but couldn’t afford to go to the hospital, she saw a Kunu seller and wanted to bring out money to buy when she saw her health insurance card, she remembered that the lady that introduced her to the scheme from one of the private health insurance companies told her she could take it to the hospital for treatment and won’t have to pay lots of money, though she was joined the scheme but just did it to full fill all righteousness as she doesn’t have trust in it.

    She decided to visit the nearest hospital for treatment as she couldn’t bear the pain she presented her card and was treated without having to pay, on receiving treatment she went to spread to good news to her fellow colleagues.

    The National Health Insurance Scheme was established under the Act Cap N42 laws of federation of Nigeria, 2004, is aimed at providing easy access to health care for all Nigerians at an affordable cost through various repayment systems. NHIS is totally committed to securing universal health coverage and access to adequate and affordable health care in order to improve the health status of Nigerians, especially for those participating in the various programmes/products of the scheme. Health insurance is the main pillar of attaining universal health care, according to Dr Tim Evans senior Director for the Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice at the World Bank, ” Universal health coverage is an essential ingredient to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity within a generation”. Despite private companies joinin the health insurance scheme and most of them making it available even to the low income earners and even the uneducated population, most people still are not registered on the scheme, the minister of health, Prof Isaac Adewole said that 95 percent of Nigerians don’t have health care insurance. I tried asking few people about their reason for not joining the scheme and these are some of the reasons the mentioned are the following;
    1. Lack of trust: most Nigerians are always suspicious and find good things difficult to belief,especially the fact the some stranger they don’t know want’s to help. Most people are scared that the insurance company might run away with their money just like some contribution collectors(Ajo), but you have nothing to worry about just ensure the health insurance company is a registered one by asking people about it asking nd if you have access to Internet just simply search on Google, also ensure that the health care institution that the insurance company uses is close to you as the would be of help I case of emergency.
    2. Lack of fund to maintain the payment: most of these health insurance companies have made it so cheap that if you set your mind to it you will be able to aford it because weighing the odds it’s better you get registered on the scheme especially for those that are low income earners as there are time’s one will be short on money.
    3. Process too long: the process isfree registries for health insurance is not as tedious as it seems, as some companies even send their representatives to local areas and various offices to enlighten people about the scheme and this makes the registration process so much easier as the representative’s most a times carry registration forms along with them and also assist with all the process because most of them even use this as a strategy for more people to register with their company.
    4. Ignorance: I belief the is the most important of the problems despite efforts by both government and private health insurance companies, majority of the population are still ignorant of it some have never heard of it while some have heard bit are not well informed . I belief the scheme have to do more on their part in terms of increasing awareness about the scheme so as ensure universal health coverage.
    Getting insured is a way of saving towards the future of your health and that of your family members. Let’s all learn from mama Tola”s story even though she didn’t have trust in the scheme when it was introduced to her she later benefitted from it when she needed it the most, you might be in her situation at one point or the other short on cash and very sick don’t let money be a barrier for not seeking immediate medical attention save towards now that you have money there is always a insurance package for your level of income just ask for information on the packages available and get registered today, you are free to select from the various health care providers they have.
    Get registered on the health insurance scheme today and you won’t regret it.

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