Dr Patrick Korie, Chief Executive Officer Managed Healthcare Services, a Health Maintenance Organisation (HMO) has urged Federal Government to adopt strategies and policies that would enable the nation to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Korie made the call on Saturday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said UHC aims at ensuring that all people have access to needed healthcare services including preventive, promotion, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care irrespective of financial status.
He identified such enabling policies as strong political will, proper healthcare governance and funding the National Health Act.
The CEO listed the objectives of UHC to include equity in access to health services, quality of health services must be good enough to improve the health of those receiving services as well as financial risk protection for those accessing healthcare.
Korie specifically noted that implementation of the one per cent Basic Healthcare Provision Fund which guaranteed equal access to healthcare by the populace irrespective of culture, religion financial status among others was key in ensuring UHC.
He further explained that healthcare funding could be channeled through the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to enable it cover the health need of every populace whether rich or poor, rural and urban dwellers.
According to him, the scheme should be funded in such a way that every Nigerian will know that it is compulsory for him or her to have a health insurance policy.
He said through such policy “those who earn money should contribute, while government should have things in place for those who do not earn money to access healthcare.
“National Health Act made provision for basic healthcare for every Nigerians, we want that to be implemented no matter how small it is; we can then scale it up because that Act guarantees UHC.’’
The CEO, who decried none inclusion of the all citizens in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), described this gap as an infringement on the fundamental human rights of citizens.
He however, urged the government among other stakeholders to recognise healthcare as a fundamental human right of every citizen as enshrined in the World Health Orgasnisation (WHO) constitution of 1948 which Nigeria is signatory to.
According to him, the government should put policies and strategies in place to enable every citizen have access to quality healthcare services without impoverishment.
“The WHO Constitution of 1948 says healthcare is a fundamental human right. Healthcare cannot be a fundamental human right and we are unable to provide it.
“For us at Managed Health Services, we are the protectors of human rights because we provide people access to care in ensuring that they are not impoverished, while accessing healthcare.
“We want the government and all stakeholders to recognise healthcare as a fundamental human right as enshrine in the WHO constitution of 1948, which we are a member and then institutionised policies to ensure every Nigerian have equal access to quality healthcare.
“We are already there but we want the enabling environment, which will be granted by strong political will,’’ Korie said.