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90% of Nigerians are without health insurance, says Minister



Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate

Prof. Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, on Tuesday revealed that a staggering 90% of Nigerians remain outside the nation’s healthcare insurance program.

This revelation came as the Federal government unveiled the Operational Guidelines for the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), an initiative aimed at redefining the nation’s healthcare system and improving health and prosperity for all Nigerians.

Professor Pate, speaking at the unveiling ceremony in Abuja, recalled the four decades of effort to ensure health insurance coverage for Nigerians and emphasized the substantial advancements made in this endeavor.

He, however, mentioned that the current progress was far from a source of national pride, as only 8 to 9% of the population had health insurance, leaving more than 90% without coverage.

He said,

Speaking at the event, the Director General of NHIA, Muhammad Sambo, stated that the operational guidelines play a crucial role in providing clarity on the roles, responsibilities, and obligations of stakeholders within the health sector.

In addition, Sambo underlined the importance of these guidelines in easing the adoption of health insurance within Nigeria.

The DG emphasized that the guidelines outline the Basic Minimum Package of Health Services for every Nigerian and detail the strategic procurement of these services throughout the nation.

He said,

Furthermore, the DG reassured Nigerians that healthcare is a basic right, and it should be accessible to everyone, whether they are rich or poor.

He said he believed that the newly unveiled NHIA Act would ensure the necessary health coverage for low-income individuals in the country, stating that nobody should have to choose between their health and their financial well-being.