• Thursday, June 13, 2024
businessday logo


USAID tasks Nigerian government on health insurance for Nigerians

Nigeria’s race to tech-powered medicine

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has urged the Nigerian government to pass and enact the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Health Insurance Bill to expand access to health insurance for over six million residents in Nigeria’s capital.

Marta Levitt, Chief of Party for USAID-IHP appeal was made during the close-out ceremony of the USAID Integrated Health Program (IHP) in the FCT which began on April 1, 2020.

The USAID IHP aimed to scale up interventions in reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health, as well as nutrition and malaria, to improve primary healthcare service delivery and strengthen health systems. The program supported 160 healthcare facilities, including 92 primary health centers, 12 general hospitals, and 56 private health centers.

The Chief of Party for USAID-IHP, highlighted that 170,009 beneficiaries were covered under the health insurance scheme. However, she emphasized that significant progress is still needed to cover the entire FCT population, urging legislators to pass the FCT Health Insurance Bill to enhance the scheme’s effectiveness.

“It’s a big start, things are ramping up fast, there are 6 million people in the FCT, it’s still a long way to go . So please I have a request for the legislators. We need the passage of the FCT bill for a health insurance please”, she said.

Levitt noted substantial improvements in health outcomes due to the program, including a 28% decline in maternal deaths and maternal mortality ratio in supported facilities.

The use of modern family planning methods led to 231,107 couple-years of protection, preventing over 104,903 unintended pregnancies, 533 maternal deaths, and 2,615 child deaths.

Additionally, the program saw a 37% increase in antenatal care visits and a 351% rise in the uptake of IPT3 (Intermittent Preventive Treatment in pregnancy).

Other achievements highlighted by the chief of party included correctly treating 20,872 cases of childhood diarrhoea with ORS+Zinc, providing 1,198,504 doses of Vitamin A to children aged 6-59 months, and ensuring 127,092 live births in IHP-supported facilities with improved essential newborn care practices.

Mariya Mahmoud, the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)urged the USAID to continue its Integrated Health Program (IHP).

She highlighted that the five-year USAID IHP, which concluded on Thursday, significantly enhanced the health and well-being of FCT residents, as shown by improvements in basic health indicators across the six area councils.

“Within the five years of the program’s implementation, tremendous successes were achieved in the areas of maternal and child health, nutrition, and capacity building of healthcare workers, among others”, she said.