Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has called on the World Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to assist the Federal Government in its health funding needs to provide better health insurance coverage for Nigerians.

Osinbajo, who made the appeal at a forum in Minneapolis, the United States, stated that the solicitation for donors’ support was due to the dwindling government revenue resources in the face of growing national needs.

The Vice President was quoted as saying at the forum which was attended by Nigerians as saying that such a gesture by the organizations and other donors would help in improving the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) nationwide.

He stated: “On improving the health budget at the state and federal levels, the focus is on trying to do the National Health Insurance because funding health care through budgeting has proved to be practically impossible. We simply do not have the resources; the states and the Federal Government cannot do enough.

“So, the National Health Insurance is a very basic part of it and we are currently working now with the World Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish a proper National Health Insurance Scheme”, Osinbajo confirmed.

Available statistical data from government sources indicated that less than seven million out of over 180 million people in the country are currently covered under the NHIS.

Even then, majority of the enrollees are public servants with 75 percent of them being federal workers.

The federal health care package under the NHIS requires the Federal Government to contribute 10 percent of each civil servant basic salary while the affected worker is to contribute five percent to enjoy health services.

The NHIS was established to improve the health of all Nigerians and make the cost of health care affordable.

Specifically, the scheme was introduced to facilitate the financing of health care costs through pooling and efficient utilisation of financial resources; to provide financial risk protection and cost burden sharing for people against high cost of health-care, through various programmes prior to falling ill.

Its objectives include to ensure that every Nigerian could have access to good health care services; and to protect families from the financial hardship of huge medical bills.