Experts in drug manufacturing are collaborating with the National Health Insurance Scheme to device ways to make drugs affordable and accessible in Nigeria.
The experts in at a stakeholders meeting underscored the need for new approach towards confronting the challenges of drugs accessibility and quality assurance.
The Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme NHIS, Prof Mohammed Sambo emphasised on the important of restoration of value system in the country’s health sector.
He also said that the meeting had the sole aim of bringing to the fore the myriad of problems related to drugs which affect NHIS enrollees in the process of accessing health care, especially at the facilities.
” As you may all be aware, one of the major policy thrusts of Mr. President’s Next Level Agenda for the Health Sector is the implementation of National Health Insurance Scheme in Nigeria to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). This cannot be actualized without the engagement and partnership with the Private Sector, especially Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Companies,” Prof. Sambo said.
He said that it was imperative to bring all the stakeholders that are involved in the manufacturing and supply of the drugs to various health care facilities together, to know their challenges and seek solutions.
” This is because drug administration for the treatment of ailments is central to the entire essence of health insurance. This is so because without the drugs, which must also be affordable, health insurance will mean nothing to the enrollees. The rising costs of drugs for treatment of communicable and non-communicable diseases has become a global phenomenon. The tragedy of this development takes more on the sub-Saharan continent of Africa. In order to attain the UHC, therefore, the rising cost of drugs must be contained by putting in place cost-containment strategies to ensure that drugs are not only available but accessible and affordable as well,” Prof Sambo said.
He noted that there have been calls for review of the extant NHIS professional service charges and NHIS drug price from stakeholders because of inflation that has rendered some of the prices on the current list unrealistic in the market which is what informed the convocation of this Stakeholders engagement.
Speaking at the meeting the Nigerian minister of health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said that the meetings were constructive and successful, leading to a number of practical resolutions and the implementation of which has been set in motion.
Dr Ehanire said that government is well aware that one of the most frequent areas of conflict between enrollees and their providers under NHIS is the quality and availability of prescribed drugs.
He urged the meeting, to develop modalities that will help Nigeria to expand access to cancer drugs in the society as the government is worried by the alarming spread of cancer, and the fact that it now traumatises people in all age brackets.
Stakeholders at the meeting deliberated on ways to collaborate to make drugs affordable and accessible in Nigeria.