The Executive Director of the Deaf Women Aloud Initiative, Mrs Hellen Beyioku-Alase, has called on governments at all levels to make health insurance accessible to People Living with Disabilities.
She made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday, during a health financing policy dialogue in Abuja.
The policy dialogue themed, “Accelerating the Implementation of the NHIA Act to Improve Health Insurance Coverage in Nigeria”, was organised by the Nigeria Health Watch in collaboration with the National Health Insurance Authority.
Beyioku-Alase pointed out that people with disabilities are constantly forced to “jump through hoops” to get the health insurance they deserved in the country.
She advocated for inclusion to ensure that people PLWDs are not left behind in the health insurance scheme.
According to her, people with disabilities tend to be in poorer health conditions and are forced to access health care at a significantly higher rate than people without disabilities.
“They also experience a higher prevalence of secondary conditions and use preventive services at a lower rate than others. Moreover, people with disabilities are affected disproportionately by barriers to care,” she said.
The executive director explained that these barriers include care provider stereotypes about disability, lack of appropriate training, and lack of accessible medical facilities, and examination equipment among others.
Beyioku-Alase said people with certain disabilities, experience specific health disparities and additional unique problems in accessing healthcare and services in the country.
According to her, “If these problems can be resolved, crosscutting solutions hold the potential to improve healthcare for the broader disability community in the country.
“People with disability need a seat at the table of discussions on health insurance and should be carried along.
“We must speak to them in a language they can understand to sensitise them on the importance of health insurance,” she said.