From right, Mr Femi Akingbade, Acting Executive Secretary /CEO NHIS, Mrs Monica Sarror, Nasarawa State Co-ordinator, Mrs Felicia Upah-Ajeibi, AGM formal sector and others during the capacity building workshop for state coordinators organized by NHIS in Minna, Niger State recently.
Health insurance cannot work in the country without the involvement of states and local government areas, the Acting Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) , Mr Olufemi Akingbade has said.
Speaking during a capacity building workshop for state coordinators in Minna, Niger State, he said the political context in which health insurance is implemented in Nigeria with states having power to legislate on health and health insurance poses an obstacle to governance and implementation of unitary pool system.
He said over the years the scheme has vigorously pursued Universal Health Coverage (having access to the needed health care without suffering financial hardship) but in spite of their efforts, the population coverage has remained abysmally low, adding that this is because of challenges outside the control of the scheme and they include the political structure of Nigeria, the legal basis for setting it up, the socio-economic structure of Nigeria, and fiscal challenges among others.
Akingbade said the need to effectively increase coverage, and also by pass the challenge of voluntary membership contained in the legal instrument that set up the NHIS, makes it necessary to engage states in order to achieve universal access in the country.
He enjoined the state coordinators to work with their state governments towards making it mandatory for indigenes and residents to be under one health insurance scheme or the other for their people ,adding that the agency will partner with any state that is willing to adopt the blueprint of the State Social Insurance Scheme.
The NHIS boss said the agency’s aim this year is Universal Health Coverage(UCH)and it is very important for the organization and stakeholders to pursue the goal of providing quality care for Nigerians while taking away financial burden as they get quality care as well.
“Universal health coverage provides immunity against the impoverishing effects of ill health and treatment costs . It also improves health system outcomes , productivity and economic development,” he said.
He said the meeting was held to enable the participants develop a thorough understanding of the scheme’s programmes, and have the necessary capacity to effectively engage stakeholders at state and national levels among others.
By: Ojoma Akor
Daily Trust News
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