ABUJA – Dr Lawrence Obembe, the new President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), has reiterated the need for community health insurance to improve the nation’s health system.
Obembe said this at a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday, organised by NMA with the theme: “Road Map towards Universal Health Coverage“.
He called for the removal of all barriers to achieving community health insurance, saying that once that was done, universal health coverage and adequate access to quality health care services would be assured.
“Ninety-eight per cent of this coverage has actually come from federal civil servants.
“The states and local governments have not come on board and in some instances, even constitute impenetrable barriers towards reaching the communities.
“Artificial barriers and imaginary concepts are always devised to forestall necessary access to adequate health care at community level and so our health care indices remain dastardly macabre.
“For example they say all primary health care services must be managed by the local government, all secondary health care services must be managed by the state governments and tertiary institutions by the federal government.
“All these policies actually impoverish the local government level and these are the things we are actually fighting against.
“The Constitution makes it mandatory that the health of every citizen belongs to all the government.
“I am calling on the media to come to aid of every Nigerian in stepping to the road map towards achieving universal health coverage and make all governments agencies realise that health is a right and not a privilege.“
According to Obembe, the idea is for every Nigerian to deposit a certain amount of money at the community level as premium to guarantee minimum level of health care.
“This should not impact negatively on any of the current health programmes in existence in the community.“
He asked the Central Bank of Nigeria to withdraw a circular it issued on April 24, empowering the Medical and Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria to register and authorise the importation of In-Vitro Diagnostic products to Nigeria.
On behalf of the association, Obembe expressed solidarity with the parents of the abducted Chibok school girls and prayed for their release and safe return to their parents. (NAN)