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NCDC DG: Rich people need to pay for services to sustain our health system

Chikwe Ihekweazu, director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), says the wealthy need to pay for services to ensure sustainability in the health sector.

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He also said healthcare can be made available to all Nigerians, if every state adopts its own basic health delivery model.

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According to the NCDC DG, there needs to be proper investment in the health sector to improve the services available to Nigerians.

“Health is very complex. We have had health insurance for many years. Why is it not working? People think it is about taking money and giving. Once we appreciate the complexities of healthcare delivery, we really focus our energy on making it work,” he said.

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“You need health insurance, but not your basic national health insurance; that’s for the poor. You need the wealthy to actually pay for the services, and that then sustains the system.

“I do think with these investments in the private sector, there is a momentum gathering, which is not obvious yet.

“I think every state should look internally and competitively in terms of what is the best model. Whatever model we choose, the one challenge and opportunity I see in all of this is to focus on delivery.

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“I think the operational delivery in Nigeria is so frustrating and this is the same for private sector hospitals. For public sector hospitals, that makes us jump to changing the structure rather than make it work, because it is easier to think you can reorganise than to make things work.”

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