Abuja – Dr Kolawole Owoka, the Chairman, Health and Managed Care Association of Nigeria (HMCAN), has urged the Federal Government to encourage the informal sector to join the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Owoka told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja that the participation of the informal sector, which constitutes the majority of the country’s population, will make Universal Health Coverage comprehensive.
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“President Obasanjo launched the NHIS in 2005 with the civil servants.
“This time around, President Muhammad Buhari should come out and launch us into the informal sector.
“It is high time we moved into the informal sector.
“And if we move into the informal sector and he launches it, you’ll see that just as people have been enjoying (the scheme) in the formal sector, the informal sector will come to almost everybody – market women, those who cannot pay, the vulnerable, the poor, and everyone.”
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He also said that moving into the informal sector would make it mandatory for every Nigerian to benefit from the scheme.
“In moving into the informal sector, we also expect the government to launch individual mandates.
“When we talk of individual mandates, we mean making it compulsory that every Nigerian should have a health package, a prepaid scheme of their choice so that it becomes compulsory.’’
Owoka added that the responsibility of subsidising healthcare should not be left for the government alone, as partnership with private entities will go a long way in ensuring that Nigerians afford medical attention.
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“This time around, we are not saying the government should bear everything.
“Like these health centres they are talking (about), that ward, let the people there come there, when those people there come there, they will be treated there and they will contribute.
“So it will be that we are helping the rich to subsidise the poor, the healthy to subsidize those who are sick and the young ones to subsidise those who are old because we shall all be our brother’s keeper.
“Some people will pay for themselves, but for some people either the Federal Government or the state government will pay.’’
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