Thursday, April 7, 2011

When Government efforts on Health are white elephant

The national Health Insurance Scheme introduced by the government of Olusegun Obasanjo was hailed by everyone when it was first introduced. The scheme was introduced as a social security system that guarantees the provision of needed health services to persons on the payment of token contributions at regular intervals. The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is a body established under Act 35 of 1999 by the Federal Government of Nigeria to improve the health of all Nigerians at an affordable cost.
Scorecard emanating from the progress so far about this scheme is not salutary at all.  In the other countries where this scheme is being practiced and where it was copied, the level of progress is very high. In Nigeria, there are various complaints, ranging from the beneficiaries being treated as second rate citizens when it come to administer of health facilities.
In some of the Hospitals being retained for the scheme, we are made to understand that each Hospital are entitled to N550.00 per month per a family, which means an hospital with 2,000 customers will rake in over a million naira per month whether the NHIS patients appear for treatment or not. One would have expected that such gratification would be met with commensurate services by the Hospitals, but reverse was the case.  
For example, beneficiaries of NHIS complaints that patients on NHIS patient are treated differently in most of the hospital albeit shabbily, they said they are made to see different consultants, and given cheap drugs, and in some cases discriminates as regards to Beds in case of Admission, compared to other patients who are are going to pay for their services instantly. 
The Hospitals prefer to deal with the patients who offered to make payment compared to the people on NHIS platform, thereby making NHIS beneficiaries look inferior to their counterpart who offered to make payment.  In most cases, NHIS beneficiaires ended up making payment too, so that they can receive the best medical care. This is indeed sad on our part as a nation.  
Have you paused to ponder that sometimes, we lack the understanding here in Nigeria that Government is doing all it can to better our lots, but sad that a lot of us prefer our old ways of being treated shabbily.

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