Health for All: The Nigerian Experience with Health Insurance

Friday, July 18, 2014: 4:20 PM
Room: 501
Oral Presentation
Alex ASAKITIKPI , Department of Socioogy, Monash South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa
Health reforms targeting universal coverage have intensified in Nigeria since the dawn of the new millennium, and the National Health Insurance Scheme, in particular, has been hailed as the panacea for and appropriate framework towards realizing the desired goal of "Health for All by 2015". Two years to the target goal however, the reality is bleak and the task of achieving the goal more daunting than ever with a significant cohort of the population still excluded from the health scheme and from accessing health services. Explanations for difficulties in meeting health targets are discussed, pointing to weak governance, economic challenges, and socio-cultural variables as important interacting factors slowing down the process. The paper concludes by outlining some important emerging possibilities for strengthening the health system, including the liberalization of the health sector, strenthening intersectoral cooperation, enhancing public-private partnership, and for policy makers and international technical partners to recognize key socio-cultural factors in designing health policies towards achieving health goals.