The Federal Government on Thursday pledged to continue to support the development of Nollywood health insurance scheme meant to provide favourable healthcare conditions for actors and actresses.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, gave the assurance on Thursday at the launch of the NollyHealthInsured by the artists at the News Agency of Nigeria Media Centre, Iganmu, Lagos State.
The association also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Leadway Insurance, Leadway Pensions and Pinewood Medicare respectively.
Leadway Insurance would take care of the artists’ Life General Insurance (LGI policy); Leadway Pension would create an affordable package to cater for their pension funds while Pinewood Medicare would take care of the artists’ health insurance.
The minister, represented by Dr. Chidia Maduekwe, Managing Director, Nigerian Film Corporation, said there was the urgent need for both stakeholders to discuss health insurance and health issues pertaining to Nollywood members.
Mohammed said: “We shall not stand by and watch your health and the health of your family members to slack by without providing a solution to it.”
The minister assured them that the present administration, as part of its efforts in ensuring a holistic development for Nigerians, would not shy away from its responsibilities.
Earlier, Fred Amata, the President, Directors Guild of Nigeria, in his address said that the provision of adequate healthcare for his members had continued to be a great challenge.
He recalled that movie practitioners were being constantly clawed by the icy cold hands of death.
Amata said: “Great screen darlings have succumbed to poor health, critical illness and poor healthcare service in the sector.”
The president said that NollyInsured would be a progressive inclusive initiative with an intervention in three categories namely: Life General Insurance, Health Insurance and Pension to preserve the health of its members.
He said: “Leadway insurance will be taking care of the LGI, Leadway Pension has created an affordable package to cater for pension funds while Pinewood Medicare will be taking care of health insurance.
“The initiative is about unifying various guilds and associations within the creative sector into becoming a body that is able to negotiate positive favourable position for the industry.”
Amata said that the development will help offer immediate care to members who were in critical stage of their health, thereby, saving a life as and when due.
He said: “Barely months ago, the sector mourned great talents like: Adeshina Adesanya, popularly known as Pastor Ajidara, Abela Pupa and Moji Olaiya to poor state of their health.
“How long shall we continue to watch our colleagues succumb to death due to lack of funds or due to the inability to raise funds for urgent treatment?
“However, with this kind of policy in place, we do not have to wait for the health of our members to deteriorate to a critical stage before help can come.”
Also, Dr Olasimbo Davidson, the Managing Director, Pinewood Medicare, commended the initiative.
She said that this was the first time that a private sector group within a single industry had united to drive health reforms which meet the World Health Organisation’s standard.
Davidson said that the Nolly-care Programme was designed to end healthcare inequalities that pertained to income differences and prevent deaths which could stem from high healthcare costs.
She said: “I am honoured to be part of this great project because this is an example of adopting a unified approach to solving Nigeria’s healthcare challenges.”
Tunji Amokade, Head of Commercial Routine, Leadway Assurance Company Limited, said that Leadway was excited to be part of this development in sustaining good health for actors and actresses.
He said: “We are excited because they are beginning to take initiative of the healthcare of their members more seriously than what they used to have in the past.”
Amokade said that partnering DGN and Nollywood would go a long way at building a good relationship with both organisations and ensure good mileage in the preservation of health.