Stakeholders in the health sector have identified a paucity of funds as a factor militating against the effective and comprehensive enrolment of beneficiaries of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
They stated this on the sideline of the just-concluded two-day health stakeholders meeting on ‘Improving the Realisation of the Right to Health in Nigeria’ in Abuja.
The meeting comprised seven state health commissioners, executive secretaries of primary healthcare development agencies and heads of health insurance agencies.
The affected states included Bauchi, Adamawa, Sokoto, Ekiti, Imo, Nasarawa and Rivers, and FCT.
The meeting was geared towards planning, reviewing and strengthening the nation’s health system.
Adetoye Olusanya, the general manager of the Ekiti State Health Insurance Agency, said the financial challenge had been a major setback towards the effective enrolment of beneficiaries of the NHIS.
He said the counterpart funding from the federal government to the state and the agency to support the scheme had not been stable.
Mr Olusanya revealed that the third tranche of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHPF) released for 2023 had a shortfall compared to the second tranche.
“In the second tranche, we were given N280 million, and now we were given only N170 million, and that is what we are expected to use for the entire year. This means that our enrollment that has gone up before will now be affected, and that means we really need to rethink in doing this work,” said the Ekiti official.
Mr Olusanya added, “When we were given N280 million, our target is to scale up to 25,000 enrollees considering the premium that was paid, now this year the payment dropped to N170 million. So with this, we might not be able to take up the vulnerable population and that is number one headache for us, financial challenge.”
He pointed out that at the state level, “we have our issues like sensitisation, our effort of getting people involved is still not adequate,” stressing that “we need money for facilities, capital.”
Ujulu Amos, the executive secretary of the Adamawa State Contributory Health Management Agency, also aligned with the financial challenge, describing it as a major problem of NHIS in the state.
He added that the lack of competent health workers in the form of human resources and the security of lives and property were also challenges confronting the growth of NHIS.
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