The entertainment industry especially Nollywood occupies a core aspect of the Nigerian culture, apart from its contribution to the country’s economy, it is the window through which the rest of the world views our image and identity.
Nollywood talents, actors and actresses as well as all stakeholders mirrors of the society, which is why we celebrate them for their creativity. It is always a sad news anytime a talent dies – it has happened one time too many. Great names like Sam Loco Efe, Ashly Nwosu, Muna Obiekwe, Festus Aguebor and most recently Obi Mmadubuogu including many others have all paid the ultimate price.
Celebrity deaths are always heartbreaking, it is even more painful seeing donation plates passing through the social media seeking for financial support for ailing talents, this goes to show that as big as the Nollywood industry has become, it is yet to embrace health insurance scheme for members.
Thankfully earlier this year in February, the leadership of the Association of Movie Producers, AMP, in conjunction with heads of guilds in Nollywood, presented a programme tagged ‘Nollycare: A Nollywood Health and Business Retreat’, which held at National Theatre complex, Iganmu, Lagos to chart the way forward for the Nigerian movie industry.
Ralph Nwadike, the president of producers association disclosed that Nollywood could be self-sustaining if practitioners would embrace opportunities available in health insurance schemes.
The programme was laudable and received a lot of positive feedbacks which prompted even the Federal Government endorsing a Healthcare and Life Insurance Scheme for Nollywood practitioners.
At the recent launch of the Nolly Health Insurance which comprised Life Insurance and Pension scheme, the Managing Director, Nigerian Film Corporation, Dr Chidia Maduekwe, commended the initiative.
“On behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the launch of the unified Health/Life Insurance and Pension Scheme (LIPS) is a thing of joy and it gladdens my heart to be associated with it,” said Maduekwe”.
Despite the recent developments in initiating a health insurance scheme for Nollywood talents, there has not been serious effort in actually rolling out the scheme so that industry stakeholders can benefit from the scheme.
Apart from merely conducting workshop for the program, the federal ministry of health should equally step in for an enforceable compulsory health care insurance for all, just as it is in other industries like the banking sector.
If this initiative can be impressed upon, Nollywood talents can benefit immensely from it because they all need to be healthy in order to continue doing what they all love doing.