New NHI Legislation
By Licec Bastian
Universal healthcare coverage is a big-ticket topic of discussion at the 76th World Health Assembly conference being held this week in Geneva, Switzerland and hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
Universal Healthcare coverage is being addressed in The Bahamas as well.
Health and Wellness Minister Dr. Michael Darville, who is leading delegates from the Ministry of Health, The Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) and the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) said universal healthcare coverage for Bahamians is a priority for the Davis administration as the government equates the provision of healthcare services with equity across the country.
Dr. Darville said it will become even more evident when parliamentarians move on new legislation to repeal the old National Health Insurance Act.
“The Bahamian people can recall that I have the National Health Insurance bill that I laid in Parliament to repeal and replace the 2016 Act.
“The reason why that’s important is because we want to expand services for primary healthcare throughout the Commonwealth. In order to do so, the old piece of legislation hindered us with that task to be able to do it.
“So, this new piece of legislation gives us more tools and more leverage to implement new services specifically with screening.
Dr. Darville said health officials intend to screen for certain cancers including colorectal and breast cancer.
“Because of the tertiary healthcare facilities being in Nassau, and Grand Bahama, it’s very important for us to come up with a strategy so that we do not leave the family islands out.
“And, so we will be doing diagnostic testing and other screening tests as part of the new NHI Bill that will hopefully become an Act and it will come into force giving us [health officials] a lot more tools to work with,” Dr. Darville said.
Health professionals gathered in Geneva at this year’s conference under the theme “Saving lives, driving health for all” are also discussing non-communicable diseases (NCD’S) and topics related to the pandemic and anti-microbial resistance.