A Medical Practitioner, Dr. Sunny Ukachakwu, has advised the government to strengthen health subsidies such as the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) so as to improve access to healthcare in the country. ADVERTISING Strengthen NHIS, improve health access – Expert advises Strengthen NHIS, improve health access – Expert advises Ukachukwu, who is the Medical Director of Primus International Specialty Hospital, Karu near Abuja, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN on Saturday in Abuja. He said that Primary Health Care facilities across the country and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) were laudable programmes designed to improve access to healthcare. He, however, said that that implementation of such programmes had not been effective.
“Quality medical care is expensive, but most advanced countries subsidise rates for their citizens. “In Nigeria, we have the Primary Healthcare Facilities scattered across the country, the idea was to bring medical care close to every person. “There is also the NHIS; these are good initiatives, but implementation, management, and corruption have been the stumbling blocks. “The amount of money Nigerians spend on medical tourism is enough to improve our health sector,’’ he said. He advised the government to take measures to cut down the rate at which Nigerians travel abroad for medical care so as to boost the country’s health sector. “We should device ways to identify people that genuinely need medical tourism; any ailment that can be handled in Nigeria should not be allowed to be taken abroad. “There are many private diagnostic centres and many hospitals in Nigeria that can handle most of the cases that are usually referred to foreign hospitals and we should encourage them,’’ he advised.