KW-HIA Kwara State Health Insurance Agency
Health insurance in Nigeria is still new and needs an increase in coverage.

KW-HIA: Health Insurance In Nigeria Needs More Advocacy

Although there has been a phenomenal leap in Kwara State’s health insurance coverage over the past three years at over 20,000 new enrollees per annum since the health insurance scheme took off, Jetewo Winters, boss of Kwara Health Insurance Agency (KW-HIA), believes that there needs to be more advocacy done to capture more people in the state and the country at large.

On Tuesday, Winters, the executive secretary of the state’s principal health insurance agency, disclosed this against the backdrop of two billion people who, by WHO’s estimation, are facing catastrophic or impoverishing health spending.

Speaking at the KW-HIA event in Ilorin put together in appreciation of sponsors of the health scheme in the state, Winters advised that more orientation needs to go into promoting health insurance and encourage buy-in from more people.

“We started financing health through our out-of-pocket expenditure. We didn’t have a platform for health insurance in the past because health insurance is a financing mechanism that is quite new to Nigeria.

“If you look at the Western world they started health insurance over a hundred years ago and health insurance in Nigeria especially with the universal health coverage that we are touting now has just been around maybe in the last decade,” she explained.

Currently, Nigeria’s health coverage in Nigeria currently stands at just 17 percent.

“The scheme is still very new to people. If people understand that there is succour in this, that they can really participate in the scheme where you don’t have to bare the health risks alone, that you can share it, and that whenever you are sick you don’t have to worry because your health needs are covered, people will be more accepting of it.

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“Secondly, the level of awareness is still very little, especially for people who don’t accept the concept of financing. So we can’t stop now, we have to continue doing advocacies, awareness creation and so on,” she added.

Within the last three years, Kwara state has posted impressive records as far as the health coverage scheme is concerned.

KW-HIA started with just 25 health providers both in the public and private sectors three years ago but there are currently over 60 providers across the three senatorial districts.

“In September 2020 when we started access to health, we just had about 10, 000 people. Over the course of the three years we have had close to 70,000 people captured, that is even without the people in the formal sector. When the civil servants come on board we are looking at an additional 200,000 to come on board,” she said.

Speaking also at the event, Amb. Dr. Olufolake Abdulrazak, the wife of the state governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazak, saluted the tenacity of KW-HIA.

Speaking on her behalf, Ganiyu Opeloyeru, a former perm sec in Kwara, at the health insurance event, stated that the agency has shown results for the resources plowed into the Scheme by the governor in the last three years.

“We are particularly pleased to see that the agency has carried every sector in Kwara along in line with the health policy of Governor Abdulrazak.”