Whereas every human being needs some form of medical insurance, there are special reasons why children should be prioritised when it comes to access to medical care. First, children tend to be more vulnerable as their immunity against disease is still developing.
Unlike healthy adults whose immunity is fully developed, children do not have the same fighting chance. What an adult may overcome without any external intervention can easily overwhelm a child. Put simply, children are more susceptible to various illnesses and are at greater risk of exposure to infection or reinfection at school or on the playground.
Two, children, especially the young ones, may not have the capacity to immediately communicate their concerns when it comes to health. This therefore makes it difficult to determine the nature of their illness and whether home remedies may suffice or not. So, whereas adults may just require sufficient rest to deal with jetlag, exhaustion or headache, a child needs to be reviewed by a qualified doctor who can then pinpoint the exact nature of the illness and recommend treatment.
Three, there are children from severely disadvantaged backgrounds and whose conditions makes them particularly vulnerable to disease. They include orphaned children, children whose families live in absolute poverty, refugees and internally displaced children and street children, among others.
Despite their challenging situations, access to medical insurance, can help improve the financial prospects of parents and guardians as many families are sometimes forced to sell property to raise finances for children’s treatment driving them further into poverty. This brings us to point number four.
Evidence shows that access to high quality healthcare in the earlier years has lifelong educational, social, and economic benefits and significantly influences physical and mental health in adulthood.
Health coverage strongly promotes high school and college completion, leading to employment and economic success. It cannot be gainsaid that medical insurance for children is, ultimately, not just good for the children. It is good for the society and the economy. In the end, everyone reaps the benefits.
The writer is the CEO and chief principal officer of Britam General Insurance.