Nigeria: NMA Calls for Mandatory Enrolment Into NHIs

17 October 2019

The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has called for mandatory enrolment of formal and informal sectors into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Dr. Ekpe Uche, the Chairman, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Chairman, made the appeal at the 2019 Physicians' Week of the association on Wednesday in Abuja.

The theme of the 2019 Physicians' week is: "Care of the unknown patient: An overview".

The call came against the backdrop of the need for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the challenges facing healthcare delivery in the country.

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He said that the topic for 2019 became imperative because it bothered the care of those who might not have the means at the time of illness or incapacitation.

According to him, this can be anybody and we have seen firsthand how the management of these patients can be unattractive.

He said that their enrolment should be the indicator that would access the country it was heading towards UHC.

"This is very important; think about a road traffic accident where an unidentified patient is managed without cost," he said.

The Obstetrician-Gynecologist said that the care of the unknown patients was multi-sectoral as well as multidisciplinary.

Dr. Ezeichila Joseph, the Chairman, Local Organising Committee of the event, said that the 2019 physicians' week provided the association with another opportunity to review its practice.

He added that it also provided the privileged to update themselves as well as interact with each other and the rest of the world.

He stated that this was aimed at service delivery to the patients and giving back to society.

According to him, doctors and other health givers are facing an ever more ethical challenge in the course of caring for patients.

These challenges, according to him, include questions on who should make medical treatment decisions for patients unable to speak for themselves.

"And who are unknown and unknowable to the hospital staff and take care of their medical expenses," he said.

He stated that after the initial medical emergency had passed, medical treatment decisions must be made that could either prolong or curtail a life, noting that who should make those decisions and they should be made.

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