CMD seeks extension of health insurance to informal sector

The Chief Medical Director, Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti, Ekiti State, Prof Adekunle Ajayi, has called on the federal and state governments to expand the scope of the health insurance scheme to cover the informal sector.

Ajayi spoke during the FETHI Stakeholders’ Forum at Ido Ekiti with the theme, ‘Healthcare financing in Nigeria: Harnessing non-governmental contribution,’ where he also called for public support to the hospital’s Indigent Patients’ Trust Fund and as well other areas of the need of the hospital.

The CMD, who said the informal sector constituted the largest portion of sectoral influence in terms of access to health needs, said, “The present health insurance scheme by the Federal Government has been able to account for five per cent or thereabouts of the Nigerian populace. That is still very low.”

He said FETHI had spent over N50m on the healthcare needs of indigent patients in the last two years, adding that, “as long as more than 70 per cent of Nigerians are still engaging in out-of-pocket expenditure on health, we will continue to have issues with patients who are unable to pay for health services.”

Ajayi said, “This (indigents’ fund) initiative is to mitigate the impact of the challenge of indigent patients on our own facility. The real solution is that we have to prevent out-of-pocket expenditure on health. There is a need to expand the scope of social insurance, in particular, health insurance.

“Health insurance should not be voluntary, it has to be made compulsory. The contributions must go beyond the formal sector, it must delve into the informal sector.”

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