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Full health insurance coverage for all Nigerians by 2030 says NHIS boss

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Full health insurance coverage for all Nigerians by 2030 says NHIS boss

The Executive Secretary, NHIS, Prof. MOHAMMED NASIDI SAMBO, in white, and the Medical Director, Garki Hospital, Dr. ADAMU ONU, when the NHIS TEAM visited the hospital in Abuja.
PHOTO CREDIT: Royal News

Stanley John

Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme, (NHIS) Prof Mohammed Nasir Sambo, has said the Federal Government has set 2030 for all Nigerians to have full health insurance coverage.

He stated that by the 10 year target all Nigerians should have been given the platform for coverage under the social health insurance system going by the projections of the NHIS.

He called on all Nigerians to avail themselves of this golden opportunity.

Prof Sambo spoke while inspecting facilities with the NHIS team at the Garki Hospital, Abuja, according to a statement on Monday by Chief Consultant, Proedge Limited, Tajudeen Kareem.

Sambo said, “Our aim is that by the year 2030, all Nigerians will have had the opportunity to get into the social health insurance system as a principle of solidarity, as a mechanism for cross subsidization and effective healthcare financing”, the Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof Mohammed Nasir Sambo said while inspecting facilities at the Garki Hospital, Abuja, recently.

“To meet the target, the scheme is fine-tuning its policies and programmes to engender closer collaboration with healthcare providers, health maintenance organizations and sundry stakeholders.

Specifically, Prof. Sambo described the problem plaguing health insurance schemes in Nigeria as “systemic” which requires a complete paradigm shift. “What we have been doing in the last two years is to engender value re-orientation that will make the scheme credible and result-oriented organization; entrenching transparency and accountability in the entire operations of the national health insurance scheme as well as accelerate the attainment of universal coverage coming with so many initiatives,” he explained.

He also expressed concern on the waiting time for the issuance of authorization codes for referral cases by health management organisations. “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 suggested.

He promised quick structural changes to decentralize the activities of the National Health Insurance scheme by empowering the states with necessary human resources and infrastructure to “perform the stewardship role”.

Full health insurance coverage for all Nigerians by 2030 says NHIS boss

He 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 manufacturers to produce NHIS- branded drugs.

“We are also working with NAFDAC in this initiative so that whatever drug that is going to be produced by the accredited manufacturers will be of standard and quality and ensure regular availability of the drugs”, he added.

Prof. Sambo praised the PPP model operating at Garki Hospital which he said has manifested in efficient management of human and material resources. He expressed surprise that the hospital with over 600 workers is not funded by the Federal Government and promised to partner with Garki Hospital on its cost effective method for delivering healthcare services.

“We are glad to be here and we cherish and appreciate the activities of the hospital under the leadership of the MD in terms of providing quality care to our enrollees and on our part, we will ensure that we do everything possible to give the necessary support to the hospital to continue to provide good services to our enrollees”, he promised.

The Medical Director, Garki Hospital, Dr. Adamu Onu identified a well-structured and efficient health insurance scheme as the pillar to providing universal health coverage for Nigerians.

Specifically, he identified areas of improvement for Nigeria’s health insurance scheme as proper documentation of beneficiaries and their records as well as standardisation to streamline areas of insurance coverage.

Dr Onu disclosed that Garki Hospital currently offers both primary and secondary care services to 33,468 NHIS patients, all registered on a digital platform. The hospital was accredited in 2008 and in September 2018 all its NHIS patients were consolidated into one operational unit.

He said the scheme is working smoothly because the hospital ensures an open and transparent billing system and ensures that no patient waits for more than 30 minutes before seeing a doctor.

“We also give priority to continuous training of our personnel, especially resident doctors and we are able to offer specialized surgery including cardiac open (heart surgery) as well as hip and knee replacement surgery.

“In the first half of this year the hospital recorded 112,000 clinic visits with NHIS patients accounting for 44.4% of these patients, while the hospital is fully self-sustaining under the PPP arrangement,” he disclosed.

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