NHIS Boss, Sambo Says Universal Health Coverage Is Achievable By 2030

The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) will leapfrog Nigeria into Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by the year 2030 if all factors of implementation work according to details set out in its ten-year strategic plan

In a press release signed by the NHIS Head of Media & Public Relations, Emmanuel Ononokpono, he said that the Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof. Mohammed Sambo expressed this optimism in Kaduna, at a two-day management retreat to adopt the ten-year strategic plan document, adding that careful implementation of the roadmap will ultimately bring the country at par with other nations where out-of-pocket expenditure for health has been eliminated.

He explained that the strategic plan document sets out in elaborate terms the roles of all stakeholders, activities and timelines as well as cost implications of all initiatives within the ten-year period, adding that going forward all efforts will be brought to align with the strategic plan.

Expressing delight at the development, the health policy expert emphasized that a strategic plan is the foundation of success of any organization or people, adding that the corporate objectives of all stakeholders under a decentralized health insurance system has been encapsulated in the document.

Allaying fears of a section of Nigerians on sources of funding for the plan, the health insurance boss who is also a health financing expert explained that the projected N3tr, which he had hinted at a public forum recently, required annually for the coverage of all Nigerians was to be raised from various non-government sources including individuals, maintaining that GIFSHIP, its flagship programme was designed in consideration of that objective.

Addressing concerns that Nigerians in rural communities may be left behind, Sambo gave the assurance that the on-going installation of equipment for e-NHIS in all the Scheme’s state offices nationwide, to link up with state health insurance systems, as provided for in the strategic plan will ensure inclusiveness, further stating that when fully operational health insurance services will only be a handset away.

According to him, persons residing in rural communities but have a handset would be able to use the gadget for purposes of registration, enrolment, selection of healthcare providers and other relevant operations, noting that the Federal Executive Council (FEC)’s approval of the e-NHIS Project was a significant milestone in the drive towards the attainment of UHC.

The 10-year strategic plan document was developed by the planning department of the Scheme in collaboration with development partners over the course of one year.

In another related development, the Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof. MN Sambo has harped on the need for a review of the National Health Act 2014, to accommodate what he described as “gaps in implementation”.

Sambo was addressing members of the National Assembly at a 3-day retreat on amendments of the legislation at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja under the theme “Resolving the Bottlenecks Around Effective Implementation of the National Health Act (NHA)”.

He highlighted the gaps in the National Health Act as lack of a governance structure to drive its implementation, absence of a concerted effort to create awareness, absence of clear delineation of roles and responsibilities and lack of enforcement of its various provisions by relevant institutions.

He therefore, amongst other suggestions, recommended the constitution of a multi-disciplinary steering committee to drive the implementation of the act.

The three-day retreat was held under the auspices of the House of Representative Committee on Healthcare Services.

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