Nigerian Healthcare Insurance Scheme to Be Rolled out by 2015, but What is Blocking Progress?; Business Monitor International Release Latest Findings on Nigeria’s Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Market

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Business Monitor has just released its Nigeria Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Report, incorporating specialist insight from Espicom Business Intelligence.

Business Monitor has just released its Nigeria Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Report, incorporating specialist insight from Espicom Business Intelligence, in which it assesses the impact that the health insurance scheme is having on Nigeria’s notoriously weak primary healthcare services and also looks at the issue of poor access to healthcare obstructing government improvement plans.

Nigeria’s Community Based Social Health Insurance Scheme (CBSHIS), which is based on an annual US$1 individual contribution to receive healthcare coverage, is easily affordable by most Nigerians. However, Business Monitor believe that despite the government resolving financial restrictions to healthcare services, actual uptake of the healthcare services and medicines will still be hindered by poor access. It points out that developing hospital infrastructure and improving poor primary healthcare services in remote and rural areas is a relatively long process, especially in a chronically under-funded healthcare sector like Nigeria’s, which is reliant on foreign aid.

The CBSHIS is scheduled to be implemented throughout Nigeria by 2015 and is designed to operate on a community level, offering coverage to every citizen in the country, said Abdulrahman Sambo, the acting National Health Insurance Scheme Secretary. He explains that the scheme is contributory in terms of which individuals are likely to offer financial contribution on a regular basis, and subsidies will be provided to individuals who cannot afford the contribution along with the aid needed to ensure that they can benefit from the coverage.

The aim of the scheme was to oblige all public and private employees to contribute 15% of their salary (5% is provided by employees and the remainder by employers) toward the Health Maintenance Organisation (HMO), which is then to arrange the necessary healthcare. By February 2012, authorities claimed that about 3mn Nigerians were registered with the scheme, but given that the country's population is over 160mn, Business Monitor is unconvinced that the presidential directive of universal health coverage by 2015 will be met.

Business Monitor has identified significant obstacles to the government achieving its targets, as highlighted by physicians at the annual scientific session of the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas in August 2012. The representatives listed governance, leadership, management, medicines and corruption problems as evident in the new health system. Business Monitor assess each blocker to the successful and timely roll out of the scheme and also appraise other key activity in the country’s Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare sector.

Business Monitor calculates pharmaceutical expenditure in Nigeria totalled NG171.23bn (US$1.08bn) in 2012. It forecasts total medicines consumption, including prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines, to increase by 17.6% in local currency terms in 2013, yielding a market size of NGN201.29bn (US$1.26bn). In 2017, Business Monitor calculate Nigeria's pharmaceutical market will be worth NGN366.61bn (US$2.13bn), posting a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.4% in local currency terms and 14.5% in US dollar terms. Over the extended 2012-2022 period, Business Monitor calculate growth will slow to CAGRs of 15.6% and 13.8% in local currency and US dollar terms respectively. It attributes Nigeria's strong pharmaceutical market growth to high GDP growth over the next decade, estimated at approximately 7% per annum in real terms.

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Sarah Sutcliffe
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Business Monitor International
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