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WHO offers support for National Health Insurance Act implementation

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A delegation of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Mission for Health Financing to Nigeria, says the UN agency is committed to supporting the implementation of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Act.

The technical officer of the mission, Fahdi Dkhimi, said this when he led a WHO team and officials of NHIA to pay a courtesy call on the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by the Deputy Director, Media and Public Relations of the Ministry, Mr Ahmadu Chindaya, on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to Chindaya, the visiting team also discussed possible ways to effectively operationalise the Act for the benefits of Nigerians.

Dkhaimi also quoted Ehanire as welcoming the gesture from WHO, adding that the operationalisation of the Act faced some challenges such as infrastructural, human resource and investment patterns.

“Most of the investments have gone to the very large visible hospitals which are not much utilised at the expense of small primary healthcare centres in the rural areas.”

Ehanire, however, solicited investment and higher level of care at the sub urban level in order to achieve universal health coverage.

Our correspondent reports that the Act was recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

It aims at, in collaboration with state health insurance agencies, empowering the NHIA to provide health insurance for all Nigerians through a mandatory mechanism.

It also sets to establish a Vulnerable Group Fund (VGF), indicating the various sources from which funding would be drawn.

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Folasade Akpan

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