NHIS sets 10-year target to provide full health insurance

EXECUTIVE secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Professor Mohammed Sambo says the Federal Government has set a 10-year target to provide full health insurance coverage for all Nigerians.

Professor Sambo, while inspecting facilities at the Garki Hospital, Abuja, said the scheme is fine-tuning its policies and programmes to engender closer collaboration with healthcare providers, health maintenance organisations and sundry stakeholders.

He described the problems plaguing health insurance scheme in Nigeria as “systemic”, requiring a complete paradigm shift.

According to him,  “what we have been doing in the last two years is to  engender value re-orientation that will make the scheme credible and a result-oriented organisation; entrenching transparency and accountability in the entire operations of the national health insurance scheme as well as accelerating the attainment of universal coverage coming with so many in initiative.”

Dr Sambo expressed concern on the waiting time for the issuance of authorisation codes for referral cases by health management organisations.

According to him, “we say that we wanted to reduce the waiting period to six hours and when we look at the structure available at the level of NHIS, we realize that we just made a promise that we cannot fulfill. We need to do some structural changes that will allow us to be able to adhere to the six hours.”

He assured quick structural changes to decentralise the activities of the national health insurance scheme by empowering the states with necessary human resources and infrastructure to “perform the stewardship role.”

Professor Sambo listed some of the changes at NHIS as restoration of quarterly payment to the HMOs by giving them a three-month capitation payment to remove delay in paying service providers, tariff for health insurance services to reflect the staggering inflation in the national economy and partnering with giant drug manufactures to produce NHIS- branded drugs.

Prof. Sambo praised the public-private partnership model operating at Garki hospital which he said has manifested in efficient management of human and material resources.

The medical director, Garki hospital, Dr Adamu Onu said that Garki hospital currently offers both primary and secondary care services to 33,468 NHIS patients, all registered on a digital platform.

He added that in the first half of this year, the hospital recorded 112,000 clinic visits with NHIS patients accounting for 44.4 per cent of these patients, while the hospital is fully self-sustaining under the PPP arrangement.

Dr Onu stated that a well-structured and efficient health insurance scheme is the pillar to providing universal health coverage for Nigerians.

He, however, said that areas for improvement for Nigeria’s health insurance scheme already identified include proper documentation of beneficiaries and their records as well as standardisation of the process to streamline areas of insurance coverage.

President Muhammadu Buhari Friday at State House Abuja urged the MTN Group to make the available top-of-the-range service to its Nigerian subscribers.

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