Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Wife of the Kebbi Governor, Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, has made a case for a vibrant health insurance system in the country saying it has become very expensive to fund the cost of healthcare from individual pockets.
She said this at a webinar “Covering COVID-19: A media series powered by #PreventEpidemicsNaija” saying the country needed health insurance cover for citizens as a way forward with or without (COVID-19).
She said healthcare had become very expensive to fund out of pocket, especially for cancer patients.
Shinkafi-Bagudu, a paediatric consultant, and a loud voice in the fight against cancer and a child’s right advocate said: “Health insurance is the only way forward. It will be difficult to fund our health system without having an effective health insurance system.”
While noting that COVID19 pandemic hit the entire world unawares, the Kebbi First Lady who was one of the speakers at the webinar, lamented the inadequate funding for epidemics in Nigeria.
“We are unanimous about the fact that the #COVID19 pandemic hit the world very unexpectedly. Generally, we tend to not to be adequately prepared for epidemics at the federal level. It is even worse at state and local government area levels. We need to speak about funding for epidemic preparedness more. We were somehow prepared for COVID19, but not as prepared as a country the size of Nigeria should be. We need to also strengthen inter-regional collaborations,” he said.
She rated Nigeria’s response to COVID-19 pandemic at five out of 10, even though the preparedness was inadequate.
Managing Director and CEO of the Aliko Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou, speaking on the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) response said the foundation raised N30 billion and was working to achieve increased testing, enable isolation centres and build testing centres and distribute palliatives to about 10 million Nigerians.