Social and financial risk protection for poor and vulnerable populations is a major development and policy issue across the globe. There are numerous definitions of social protection. In the context of health, social protection is defined as programmes and measures aimed at removing financial barriers preventing access to health care services and protecting poor and vulnerable populations from the impoverishing effects of medical expenditures. Financial risk protection is a key component of universal health coverage (UHC) and the health system goal of ensuring access to quality health care services without suffering financial hardship.
Social and financial risk protection can be provided through programmes and measures that are rooted in legislation. Lack of social and financial risk protection leads to high levels of poverty, vulnerability and inequality in health. When the majority of a country's population encounters the aforementioned problems, governments have to be responsive and design programmes that are rooted in legislation.
Since independence in 1960, Nigeria has had a very limited scope of legal coverage for social protection besides over 90% of the Nigerian population being without health insurance coverage. The Nigerian health system has been evolving over the years through health care reforms aiming to address the public health challenges confronting it. This includes:
Even so, the inability to effectively address the country's numerous public health challenges has contributed to the persistent and high level of poverty and the weakness of the health system. Political instability, corruption, limited institutional capacity and an unstable economy are major factors responsible for the poor development of health services in Nigeria. Households and individuals in Nigeria bear the burden of a dysfunctional and inequitable health system – delaying or not seeking health care and having to pay out of pocket for health care services that are not affordable.Download Full Details