Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara has revealed that over a 100 million Nigerians cannot afford to treat malaria in public hospitals.
He was represented by the Deputy Minority Leader, Mr Chukwuka Onyema, on Wednesday in Abuja at an investigative hearing on health care services, organised by House of Representatives Committee on Health Care Services.
Dogara was worried that poor Nigerians are the victims of this problem, saying, "Poor families, who constitute over 67 percent of our population, (well in excess of 100 million Nigerians), cannot afford to pay hospital bills even for treatment of malaria in public health facilities, nor for routine ante-natal services.
"Regrettably, there is no mechanism to protect vulnerable families from the catastrophic effects of the exorbitant cost of healthcare services in Nigeria.
"If we must achieve desired outcomes and changes, there is a compelling need to expand the coverage levels of NHIS, currently estimated to be about 4-5 percent of Nigerians, mostly in the formal sector.
"A scenario where even this abysmally low coverage is attributable to those in paid employment and other types of formal sector creates suspicion of lack of creativity and innovation on the part of key actors in the health insurance industry in Nigeria, especially HMOs."
The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has been rocked with allegations of mismanagement of N351 billion.