HEALTH INSURANCE: Awute calls for adequate and effective funding

The Chairman of Committee On the Provision Of Health Insurance For Retirees and Elderly, Mr Linus Awute has called for adequate and effective funding of the nation's health sector.

Mr Linus Awute who is a Retired Federal Permanent Secretary made the call while speaking with newsmen in Abuja.

He said the call became necessary to reduce medical tourism and Improve the well being of all Nigerians.

According to Mr Linus Awute, Retirees and Elderly should also be provided with health insurance scheme to enable them have a sense of belonging in the country.

He added that his Committee had already recommended to the Federal Government on the need to provide health insurance to Retirees and Elderly as part of measures to enhance their well being.

Mr Awute also said this while briefing the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire and his management team on the activities of a Committee saddled with the responsibility to drive the process of providing health insurance for retirees and elderly in Nigeria.

Mr Awute who is the Chairman of the  Committee said the move became necessary to further ensure the well being of senior citizens who have contributed their quota to the progress and development of the country.

"Improved health and wellbeing are crucial to older peoples’ independence and autonomy and critical to maintaining inclusion and participation in community affairs.
therefore there is the need for provision of social protection especially in health, based on many uncertainties older person face" He stated

According to him, providing financial risk protection to older person is also crucial through health insurance in a very efficient and equitable way in order to improve the health of older persons and to give effect to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He further enumerated other  reasons as follows:

To give effect to the National Strategic Health Development Plan (2021 – 2025).
vi. Reaffirmation of the commitment of the Federal Government to improving the welfare of older persons in Nigeria.
vii. Older persons constitute about 6 – 7% of Nigeria’ population, making the aged above 10 million in number.
viii. Out of Pocket Expenditure is the predominant method of payment for health services (76.6%) among the older persons.
and low income capacity exists as well as make situation difficult for older persons to pay for healthcare services from their merge pension, if any.

"Health seeking behaviour favour self medication only and changing traditional family dynamics reduce availability of care givers as well as perception barriers on why spend money on old persons who are close the end of their lives, is another psychological dimension" the Retired Federal Permanent Secretary emphasized

According to Mr. Awute, the committee had remained focused and guided by the events of history in the visionary policies of government and  the committee paid attention to the vision of government in establishing NHIS in 1999.

He further stated that the committee also evaluated the purpose and the inherent gains of the National Health Act of 2014 (NHAct-14), they looked into the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, section 16 & 17, to query the effect of the clause dealing fundamental obligations and principles of state policy. 

We equally considered the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, including other treaties, conventions and chatters for which Nigeria is also a signatory to all. He said the committee was able to study all relevant policies and used their findings to properly reconstruct the goal of the committee in order to align with the requirements of a sustainable insurance scheme in an equitable manner that ensures financial risk protection, and does not put undue pressure on individuals, families, government or the larger society” Mr Awute pointed out

On his part the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said the committee was set up to underscore the resolve and commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari in promoting and improving the health of ageing through the provision of health care services.

He therefore advised the committee to come up with effective recommendations towards achieving the set objectives on the health insurance for the retirees and elderly in the country.

The committee was inaugurated by the Minister  on the 30th of November, 2020

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