The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) in Nigeria is making plans to include all citizens, including those with cancer, in the country’s health insurance programme.
This announcement was made during a symposium organised by the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (NICRAT) to mark the 2024 World Cancer Day.
Daju Kachollom, permanent secretary, federal ministry of health and social welfare, said enrolling cancer patients in health insurance programmes would help alleviate the financial burden associated with cancer care.
She also highlighted the NHIA Act 2022, which makes health insurance mandatory for all Nigerians, as a significant step towards achieving universal healthcare coverage.
In addition, President Bola Tinubu has approved the provision of new radiotherapy and nuclear medicine facilities for six Federal Teaching Hospitals across Nigeria in the 2024 Appropriation Act.
The ministry is working with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) to ensure the timely implementation of this project.
Kachollom also acknowledged the increasing prevalence of cancer in Nigeria and emphasised the need for concerted efforts to address the challenges in early diagnosis and limited access to quality care.
She commended the establishment of NICRAT in 2023, highlighting its role as a central implementing agency leading the government’s initiatives in cancer research, treatment, and prevention.
Usman Aliyu, the director-general of NICRAT, stressed the urgent need to bridge disparities in cancer care and treatment and highlighted the institute’s achievements in cancer research, treatment, access to care, prevention, and control.