poverty CSJ PRO expert FUNDING health plans FG specialised Performance BANK SCIDaR
Healthcare Financing

Healthcare: Expert Offers Solution Towards Affordability Crisis

According to Akolade Jimoh, a Nigerian health expert, the country’s healthcare affordability crisis can be addressed by a roadmap to universal coverage through innovative financing.

In a recent chart, Akolade stressed that health financing is one of the building blocks of the health system and bemoaned that the total expenditure on health has been rising but with limited financial access and risk protection from health expenditures for most of the population.

Akolade said “High out-of-pocket expenses, inadequate insurance coverage, and limited government funding contribute to this crisis. Millions of Nigerians face a stark reality: the right to healthcare is contingent on their ability to pay.

“As a matter of fact, out-of-pocket payments for funding health care are among the highest in the world. Out-of-pocket spending, a staggering 70-75 percent of the national health budget, pushes families into poverty with every illness,” he said.

The expert said that Nigeria has implemented various initiatives to address the challenges. A good example is the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) which is aimed at improving access to quality primary health care through the provision of a Basic Minimum Package of Health Services (BMPHS).

“However, there have been gaps in its implementation and limitations to funding and other resources that still pose a problem to the actualization of the goal.

“Another policy by the Nigerian government to increase financial risk protection for the public is the establishment of the National Health Insurance Authority (formerly known as the National Health Insurance Scheme).

“The NHIA is part of its efforts to provide financial protection and reduce individual risk in health spending. By enacting laws, the NHIA is objected to engage in activities aimed at achieving Universal Health Coverage and ensuring that health insurance is mandatory for every Nigerian and legal resident, through different mandates under its enacting laws.

“While there have been some successes through the rollout of these initiatives like increased awareness and enrollment, persistent challenges like limited coverage, disparities in access and OOP spending still hinder the attainment of UHC in Nigeria.”

He said that the solutions lie in mandatory Insurance for all which entails expanded community-based health insurance programs, particularly targeting rural and underserved areas, to encourage community participation and ownership to ensure sustainability and trust in the insurance system among others.