Governments at all levels have been urged to make Health Insurance Scheme work for the good and wellbeing of the citizens.
The call was made by Head, Family Medicine, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and Snr. Lecturer, Department of Mass Communication, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Dr. Sodipo Oluwajimi and Dr. Oscar Odiboh recently.
Dr. Oluwajimi while responding to question on what government should do to improve the living standard of Nigerians at the venue of the free diabetes screening and awareness campaign organized by the International Association of Lions Clubs in partnership with the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) in commemoration with this year’s World Diabetes Day, in Ikeja, Lagos, called on government to make Health Insurance Scheme work.
He said the only way government can impact the lives of Nigerians positively is to give them affordable and accessible healthcare, adding that this can only be possible if our health insurance is working effectively.
According to him, “Government has a very critical role to play regarding the wellbeing of the people. We know that diabetes is a common illness. There are different statistics. The last statistics from Lagos State said about six percent of the population is diabetic and that is an old statistics.
“Let’s look at the current statistics with our changing eating habits and sedentary lifestyle, it can even be more. If you are looking at six percent of 15 million people, you can imagine the number and you know that diabetes is a chronic illness, it’s not like malaria that you can treat once. A diabetic patient has to be on treatment most times for life.
“Because of this, we need the government to ensure that our health insurance works so that people can think of changing their lifestyle and also when they have diabetes, they can easily buy their drugs. You know most of us buy our drugs as out of pocket expenses, but if we have health insurance, somebody is sure if he walks to the hospital, he is going to see the Doctor, do his investigation/test and collect his drugs, of course, that person is more likely to be present in the hospital than somebody that has to pay for everything.
Speaking in the same vein, Dr. Odiboh urged governments at all levels to make proper use of its health insurance scheme to save lives by ensuring availability, affordability, and accessibility of healthcare for the people.
He said Healthcare Insurance is the area that the government can really make an impact on the lives of the people.
According to him, “I know the population is quite high; facilities are begging for attention giving the population swell but Healthcare Insurance is the area that government can impact on the people. Insurance, not in terms of giving money to the people but for people to have access to a particular amount of medicare that they can go to any hospital and obtain medicare.”
Continuing, “For instance, if the government says every citizen is entitled to N10,000 worth of medicare per month, what he needs to do is to register with the hospital and I think they are doing something in this area but I implore the government to ensure it is completed. The government should ensure that with the Healthcare Insurance in place, citizens can go to any hospital closest to him or her whether private or public and get healthcare service worth that amount of money without paying a dime from his or her pocket. This kind of thing should be arranged where you can go to any hospital and get quick, adequate and standardized medical attention because health is wealth.”