Health Insurance Act: NSCC tasks State Govts. on domestication
The Director-General of National Senior Citizens Centre (NSCC), Dr Emem Omokaro, has appealed to state governments to domesticate the National Health Insurance Act to enhance access to healthcare by older persons.
Omokaro made the appeal in an interview on Monday in Abuja.
According to her, President Muhammadu Buhari set up a Committee on Health for Older Persons in late 2020 to look at the gaps in the access to healthcare by older persons.
“After all said and done, the President signed into law the National Health Insurance Authority Act. That is the legal framework for universal health where older persons are captured.
“Before now, it used to be children, women and pregnant women, but now older persons are captured. Health is on the concurrent list and only few states have started rolling out their health insurance.
“However, I am appealing to state governments across the country to domesticate the National Health Insurance Act.
“Once states have domesticated the Act and develop the policy, it means that they are going to articulate this initiative, especially they will be able to coordinate it,” she said.
The NSCC boss said that before the Act was signed into law, there were gaps in inclusion of older persons in area of primary healthcare, agriculture, housing, transport and other mandates of government agencies, hence the need for the domestication of the Act.
“So, it takes agency like NSCC to coordinate, build partnership, collaborate, lobby, advocate and push for a place for older persons in the country.
” So, where states do not domesticate the Insurance Act, older people would fall through the cracks, even with all the good intentions of the Act, older people will not enjoy it.
The NSCC boss, therefore, appealed to all stakeholders, including traditional rulers, state governments and religious leaders to buy into NSCC and facilitate the domestication of the Act and development of the policy.
“With this, all the challenges concerning older persons would be articulated, coordinated and monitoring and evaluation would also be included to access progress,” she said.
She further explained that the Act had already built a structure that each state could tap into to give access to healthcare for older persons easily.
According to her, Nigeria is operating a federal system of government where states are expected to be autonomous and domesticate the laws under the concurrent list.