In Jos NHIS solicits governors support to achieve universal health coverage

The NHIS boss said that his agenda would be to chart a new course for the agency that Nigerians would be proud of, refocus it, motivate the staff and change the culture.

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Prof. Usman Yusuf, Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). play

Prof. Usman Yusuf, Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

(gongnews)
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Prof. Usman Yusuf, Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), has called on governors of the 36 states to adopt the scheme in order to achieve universal health coverage in Nigeria.

He made the call on Monday in Jos during the Progressive Governance Lecture Series held in Plateau state capital.

He said that the aim of the partnership between the NHIS and state governors was to extend healthcare to most Nigerians and also create strategies to improve health care financing across the states.

Yusuf said that the scheme had recorded low level of health coverage.

He said that most countries such as Kenya, Ghana, and Rwanda had achieved over 50 per cent coverage of its citizens.

“Nigeria has one of the worst figures in health coverage all over the world with only four per cent despite our huge human and capital resources.

“Majority of Nigerians live in the states, towns and villages and the scheme covers just a little fraction of the population essentially federal government workers.

“We however seek the governor’s support to adopt the scheme because most Nigerians reside in the states and rural communities,’’ he said.

The executive secretary said the partnership would also create a platform for governors, traditional rulers and stakeholders to formulate policies that would be implementable for various states.

He said the primary goal of the agency was to increase healthcare coverage for all Nigerians especially the vulnerable, children under five, the disabled, prisoners, the aged among others.

Analyzing the challenges confronting the agency, Yusuf said that the scheme, established in 1999 and became operational in 2005 had performed poorly in the past 11 years.

“The NHIS has been sleeping on duty; corrupt, inefficient, lacks vision, not responsible and accountable to enrollees, complacent on health care financing and not good stewards of peoples trust.

“The healthcare providers have also defaulted on their solemn oath to patients.

“NHIS patients go to hospitals and are treated like lepers; some doctors are criminally negligent and disrespectful.

“While the health care maintenance organizations (HMOs) have been eating bread without sweating and grown fat on enrollees contribution, they are fraudulent, uncaring, full of impunity  corrupting the health care financing,’’ Prof Yusuf added.

He said his presidential mandate was to make NHIS work for all Nigerians; cleanse the scheme of inefficiency, endemic corruption, impunity and political patronage.

The NHIS boss said that his agenda would be to chart a new course for the agency that Nigerians would be proud of, refocus it, motivate the staff and change the culture.

He said that he would empower the enrollees to have access to their HMO’s and the ability to decide which hospital they want to subscribe to.

Also Speaking, Secretary to Kogi state government Mrs Ayo-Adefolashade Arike, lauded the efforts of the executive secretary, saying that Kogi state would soon launch into the NHIS scheme.

“Health is one of the focal point of the governor’s agenda and in the next two weeks we would raise a memo at the state executive council to launch into the NHIS scheme,’’ she said.

The Director-General of the governors’ forum, Prof. Saliu Usman, said that the all progressive governance lecture series was to create a frame work to identify key governance challenges and proffer recommendations.

He said that the policy recommendation would be factored into the states plans for governor’s consideration for the 2017 agenda.