NHIA to review medicine tariffs amid rising medical inflation in Nigeria

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has announced its plan to review medicine tariffs in response to the significant rise in medical inflation experienced over the past few months in Nigeria.

Dr. Kelechi Ohiri, NHIA’s Director-General and Chief Executive Officer, shared this development with newsmen in Abuja on Monday.

Dr. Ohiri stated that the initiative is part of a broader strategy to ensure the affordability, quality, and sustainability of medicines under the national health insurance program.

The review process commenced with a comprehensive meeting involving nearly one hundred stakeholders from various sectors of the health industry.

These stakeholders include practitioners, government representatives, hospitals, pharmacists, dentists, and Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs).

The medicine tariff review process

“The aim is to address one of the critical barriers to accessing high-quality healthcare, which is the cost of medicines,” said Dr. Ohiri.

He emphasized that the authority’s proactive measure reflects its dedication to improving healthcare access and affordability for all citizens.

Dr. Ohiri highlighted the launch of a medicine initiative designed to guarantee the long-term sustainability and affordability of essential drugs.

This initiative aims to combat the effects of medical inflation and ensure that the health insurance program remains viable and effective for the future.

Acknowledging the challenges posed by medical inflation and the need for sustainable healthcare financing, Dr. Ohiri said, “By reviewing and adjusting medicine tariffs, NHIA aims to alleviate the financial burden on patients and ensure that quality care remains accessible.”

“The collaboration with stakeholders highlights a commitment to a transparent and inclusive process in addressing these critical issues.”

With continued stakeholder engagement and strategic financial disbursements, NHIA is poised to enhance the national health insurance program and support the health and well-being of Nigerians.

Furthermore, Dr. Ohiri disclosed that NHIA had accredited multiple healthcare facilities across various states to work closely with state governments in expanding coverage and improving access to healthcare services.

This effort includes the establishment of state health insurance agencies in additional states, bringing the total to 36 states with active agencies.

What you should know

The agency has said it is committed to boosting enrollment in the national health insurance system while simultaneously working with partners to improve the quality of services in both the public and private sectors.

“The NHIA’s strategy focuses on improving fundamentals, consulting with key stakeholders, boosting public awareness of the benefits of health insurance, and working with states to increase coverage at the sub-national level.”

“The authority has been consulting, learning, supporting, and encouraging key players in the healthcare ecosystem to achieve higher enrollment and improved services from healthcare providers,” he said.

Dr. Ohiri stressed the importance of addressing out-of-pocket health expenditure, which drives poverty, lack of productivity, and mortality when people cannot afford unforeseen health costs.

  • This issue is even more severe for families dealing with chronic health conditions.
  • He also highlighted the need to support vulnerable Nigerians, including the elderly, the infirm, and those living with disabilities and other challenges.

“For those who cannot earn income or care for themselves, the challenge is even greater,” he noted.

  • To address this, NHIA leverages various special funds established by the Federal Government and prioritizes enrolling vulnerable groups to ensure they access health insurance benefits.
  • The DG added that NHIA had expanded eligibility to include women facing challenges after childbirth, ensuring they receive free treatment under a health insurance scheme, significantly improving maternal healthcare.

“Adjusting the eligibility criteria is a step in the right direction,” he concluded.



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