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Senate Committee on Health, on Monday commenced public hearing to amend the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

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Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ibrahim Oloreigbe has revealed that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) which was established in 1999, but commenced operation in 2005, has less than 3% coverage after fifteen years.

Speaking at a one day public hearing to consider, “a bill for an act to repeal the National Insurance Health Scheme”, and the “act to provide for the enhancement and regulation of mental health and substance abuse”, he noted that the Federal government employees have been at the receiving end.

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He said that Nigeria was next to India in child mortality rate due to wobbling health system, saying that the Senate will intervene to make the agency works.

Oloreigbe,, who is a medical doctor, said nothing was being done to suggest that the worrisome health system in Nigeria would improve anytime soon.

“You will recall that the current Health Insurance Scheme was established by Decree 35 of 1999 which formally commenced operations in 2005.

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“The NHIS which is a formal sector programme that provides coverage to the Federal government employees and promote the establishment of private and community Health Insurance Scheme has less than 3% coverage.

“Our health indices from the National Demograhic Health Surveys (NDHS) have not been encouraging, and the need for health care reforms have become more expedient.

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“It is no longer news that Nigeria contributed 14 percent of all maternal deaths globally, second only to India at 17%.

The lawmaker said, that the situation was unacceptable, promising that the Senate would do what is within its statutory powers to reverse the ugly trend.

He assured the public that its contribution would be taken into consideration towards have effective legislation on the NHIS.

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