New Plan to Integrate HIV Services into Health Insurance Marks Milestone for Nigeria
On December 1, 2020 Nigeria officially launched the country’s National Blueprint for Integration of HIV into State Health Insurance Schemes. The launch, which took place on World AIDS Day, represents a significant milestone for sustainable HIV financing through the integration of HIV into health insurance, a key universal health coverage reform in Nigeria. Implementing the document’s recommendations is expected to increase financial protection for HIV patients, increase access to HIV care, and ultimately lead to improved HIV outcomes.
The blueprint was developed by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, the National Health Insurance Scheme, and other HIV stakeholders with support from the USAID-funded Health Policy Plus project. It is based on stakeholder input gathered at a National Roundtable for HIV Integration into Health Insurance that was held in October 2019.
The document provides specific guidance to Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory on how to integrate HIV services into their state health insurance schemes. Specifically, the document provides recommendations on the minimum package of HIV services feasible to integrate into insurance benefits packages, appropriate payment models for providers, and purchasing arrangements, among other key considerations. Each state will be required to adapt the blueprint based on their unique contexts.
The launch was organized by Nigeria’s Minister of Health, the Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. During his speech at the launch, Secretary to the Government Boss Mustapha highlighted the need for states to integrate HIV into their state health insurance schemes, thereby relieving citizens of the burden of out-of-pocket payments for HIV services. He explained, “It is my recommendation that all states fully implement [a] social health insurance scheme with the integration of HIV prevention and treatment services [as] out-of-pocket expenses for health is not sustainable.”