Distrust and lack of awareness have been highlighted as major factors hindering the adoption of health insurance by the entertainment industry in Nigeria.
This was the overarching message made by Mrs. Kehinde Oyesiku, Head, Business Development and Sales, Avon HMO, at the first annual Nigerian Entertainment Industry Health Insurance Convention held in Lagos recently.
Oyesiku, who represented Mrs. Adesimbo Ukiri, the MD/CEO of Avon HMO, explained that this distrust was due to a lack of understanding of the benefits of health insurance and how the system works.
She said: “Health insurance, as a concept, is not entirely new in our society. However, we know that awareness of health insurance in the entertainment industry is limited. This has accounted for the high rate of out-of-pocket expenditure for medical care still paid directly by entertainers. Thus, this has made quality healthcare services expensive and unaffordable for many.”
Mrs. Oyesiku encouraged Nigerian entertainers to subscribe to a health insurance scheme as this would go a long way in achieving the goal of Universal Health Coverage. She further urged them to have periodic medical checkups as early detection of ailments may curb the spate of avoidable deaths in the sector.
She added: “The good thing is that we, at Avon HMO, are creating awareness on the importance of health insurance and the need for Nigerian entertainers to pay more attention to their health. Now that we have the key stakeholders from the Entertainment and Health Insurance sectors coming together, we are positive that, together, we can chart a new course that will put a stop to the needless deaths in the Entertainment industry.”
The event was attended by prominent members of the entertainment industry including Ibinabo Fiberisima, President, Actors Guild of Nigeria; Chinedu Chukwuji, the General Manager, Copy Right Society of Nigeria (COSON) and Jide Kosoko, a former President of the Association of Nigerian Theatre-Arts Practitioners (ANTP).
Others present were Julius Agu, OJB Jezereel, Ngozi Nwosu, Foluke Daramola, Grace Amah, Jennifer Eliogu, Omawunmi Megbele and DJ Jimmy Jatt amongst others.
The event was also attended by notable personalities from the health sector, including Prof. Paul Orhii, Director General, National Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Prof. Femi Thomas, the Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).