PharmAccess and the Health Insurance Fund, with their partner Hygeia, have reached an important milestone: more than 100,000 people are enrolled in the Hygeia Community Health Care (HCHC) programs in Nigeria. Market women and IT- workers and their families in Lagos and farmers and their dependents in Kwara State now have a health insurance, protecting them from health related risks, by providing access to affordable and quality health care. This milestone contributes to the aim of the Nigerian Ministry of Health “to strengthen the national health system and to vastly improve the health status of Nigerians”, as formulated in the National Strategic Health Development Plan. In this national framework, the Health Insurance Fund schemes in Lagos and Kwara State are mentioned as encouraging ways to increase access to affordable health care.
The first insurance schemes have been rolled out in 2007 for the market women and dependents in Lagos and for farmers in Kwara State. In October 2008, the World Bank demonstrated solidarity with the project when it pledged support to a target group of approximately 27,500 ICT workers in Lagos. Since the start of the program, the quality of care in the clinics has improved dramatically, leading to an enormous increase in the number of patient visits. In total there have been over 700,000 visits to the clinics in the program.