By Ignatius Ushie
Chairman, Ministerial Committee for Provision of Health Insurance for the Retirees and Elderly in Nigeria, Linus Awute has emphasized the need for Pluralistic Financing System involving for effective care for the ageing population.
Awute, a retired Federal Permanent Secretary, gave this submission while submitting the report of his Committee which was inuaguarated on 30th November 2020, to the Minister of Health, Dr. Emmanuel Osagie Ehanire, to promote and improve the health of ageing citizens through the provision of health insurance.
According to him , the report did not end with recommendations but also provided the implementation strategy, adding that the Pluralistic Financing System involve seven innovative sources of funding such as General Revenue; Sin tax; Telecom tax; Mandatory (social) health Insurance Contribution; Diaspora Remittances; Petroleum Subsidy Reinvestment; Aviation Tax among others.
Awute said the guideline for implementation is detailed in the report and that the process will be driven by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), under the new NHIA-Law, adding that the work of the committee or the progress made underscores the value of the new NHIA-Law which now requires a strong political will to forerun the success of his committee’s recommendations.
“Committee has recommended a Pluralistic Financing System involving seven (7) innovative sources of funding such as General Revenue; Sin tax; Telecom tax; Mandatory (social) health Insurance Contribution; Diaspora Remittances; Petroleum Subsidy Reinvestment; Aviation Tax.
“Each recommendation had been revaluated to remove any second and third order effects that might preclude efficiency in effective programme implementation.
“We did not end with recommendations only, we have also provided the implementation strategy. Our report lays emphasis on method of enrolment of older persons, the report recognizes some critical stake holders and acknowledges their roles. Of utmost importance is the fact that we have laid greater emphasis on the financial risk protection for the older persons and this is where the issue of funding comes in.
“We had accordingly researched deep by benchmarking, through the study tour of three countries plus reports received from other climes, we have therefore reached the conclusion that no society can fund and sustain the funding of health care from only one source, hence our recommendation is premised on the need to maintain a balance between the perceived need for medical care and the acceptable level of national expenditures on health care in Nigeria” he said.
He further stated that “older people can live and live a healthier life in a situation where health insurance enrolment and funding are both made mandatory.
Awute presented the committee’s report on June 28, 2022, one and half years after the Committee was inuaguarated explaining that the Covid-19 Pandemic and the fact that 70% of members of the committee do not live in Abuja hindered the speed of the work of the committee.
According to him, “the long time spent to do our work has paid off in the quality of job done and the value of result achieved by my committee”.
Membership of the committee include but not limited to professor Nasir Sambo, DG NHIS, Prof. Obehi Akorie of UBTH, Dr. Ochi Achinivu, a retired Federal Permanent Secretary, Dr. Salma Anas Ibrahim and Dr. Ahmed Saidu, both of the Federal Ministry of Health, Senator Eze Ajaku, Dr. Jimmy Adeyeye, Dr. Jonathan Eke, Dr. Emem Omokaro (DG — Senior Citizens Centre) Dr. Comfort Adeosun among others.