NHIS: expert advocates inclusion of knee, hip replacement surgeries

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UMARU Habila, an Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon has advocated for the inclusion of total knee and hip replacement surgeries under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), to ease financial burdens on patients.

Habila told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that although NHIS covered some orthopaedic treatments and simple surgeries, it did not cover treatment for bigger surgeries.

“It (NHIS) covers most parts like consultation, some aspects of the treatment like simple surgeries like plate and screws but if it involves bigger surgeries like joint replacement, it is not covered.

“Out of pockets payment for healthcare is very difficult and demanding on the side of the patients.

“ So, whatever the cost, ideally NHIS should pay for the patients since resources are pulled together.

“The Health Maintenance agencies should not be so self-centred that, they corner these things.

“So, the money should be available for patients use, they are the contributors and to my own opinion, which is personal, the patient should be the maximum beneficiary of this contributory health scheme.’’

Habila noted that some companies like Transcorp and multinational organisations like Julius Berger augment for the treatment of their patients.

“ They get the prosthesis of their patients and virtually pay the additional that NHIS cannot cover.

“Typically, NHIS does not cover the prosthesis, that is the implant that will be put for the patients because it cost a lot between N600,000 and above for knee and hip.’’

According to him, prosthesis is expensive because they are imported and the hospital buys from the agents of foreign companies.

“So, they have their representatives, which are used internationally, when we need prosthesis, we give them a call and within 24 hours they make it and instrumentation available for it.

“For now, we do not have the capacity in this country to produce prosthesis for knee or hip joint replacement (that is the implants used to replace the hip or knee)

Meanwhile, he said that the hospital had been working in partnership with big National Orthopaedic hospitals in the country.

According to him, National Hospital collaborates with National Orthopaedic Hospital Dala, Kano in advanced orthopaedic surgeons and training.

“We collaborate in our training; we train residents here to be Orthopaedic surgeons, so the areas that we are deficient in here, we send the residents to Dala.

“We send them there to get the training there to make them qualified to be Orthopaedic surgeons.’’

The surgeon, however, commended the management of Dala Orthopaedic for breakthroughs recorded in the orthopaedic and trauma practice in the country.

“Dala is 60 years, they are doing very well but there is still room for improvements; they are doing all the surgeries, the joints surgeries, spine surgeries and pelvic surgeries,

“ They have large hospital and large manpower capacity compared to the National Hospital, which is full-fledged accredited training place for residents doctors in all fields, he said. (NAN)

– Jan. 27, 2020 @ 15:39 GMT |

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