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Only 17% of Nigerians have health insurance coverage – Poll

A survey conducted by NOI Polls has revealed that only 17 per cent of the country’s population has health insurance coverage in Nigeria. The chief…

A survey conducted by NOI Polls has revealed that only 17 per cent of the country’s population has health insurance coverage in Nigeria.

The chief executive officer, NOI Polls Legal Department, Dr Chike Nwangwu, made the disclosure yesterday in Abuja during the health financing policy dialogue themed, ‘Accelerating the Implementation of the NHIA Act to improve Health Insurance Coverage in Nigeria’, organised by the Nigeria Health Watch, in collaboration with the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).

He said this suggested that health insurance had remained very low in Nigeria, adding that 75 per cent of those with coverage reported they were covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

He said the poll showed a high utilisation of public hospitals across the country as disclosed by 58 per cent of respondents. “In addition, while 36 per cent utilises private health care facilities, five per cent disclosed that they utilised both public and private health care facilities.”

He said 80 per cent of the respondents disclosed that they paid out of pocket for health care services, irrespective of the health care facilities they visit.

The poll recommended that awareness of the NHIS is critical as only 51 per cent of respondents who pay out of pocket were aware of the Scheme.

The director-general of the National Health Insurance Authority, Prof Mohammed Sambo, said any effective policy on financing health care must ensure that the country takes a lead in putting health in the highest level of the agenda.

The managing director, Nigeria Health Watch, Vivianne Ihekweazu, said the government had a critical role to play in accelerating the NHIA Act implementation by providing adequate funding, strengthening governance structures and creating an enabling environment for the Scheme to thrive.

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