By Kemi Yesufu
Recently appointed, Executive-Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Mohammed Sambo, has listed means through which he will have a productive tenure, void of controversies.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the Two-Day NHIS Strategic Engagement with Enrollees and Healthcare Providers Forum held in Abuja on Monday, he stated that he would implement recommendations contained in the report of the Independent Fact Finding Panel on NHIS.
Sambo, who was responding to a question from Frontline News Online on avoiding the proverbial banana peel, he stressed that he will ensure accountability and transparency, peaceful labour relations as well as maintain a structure that will lead to useful cohesion between the agency and critical stakeholders.
He said: “We are talking about looking into the financial management system of the NHIS, auditing the account of the agency, resolving all labour issues that have bedeviled the agency and having a veritable organization structure.
“These are the issues that came up from the Presidential Independent Fact-Finding Panel, which got into the root of the problems and prescribed what should be done to strengthen the organization. The panel did its work and gave recommendations and if they are implemented, even as we carry out our rebranding agenda, these ideas will merge at some point and from that point we will accelerate the ideas to further make NHIS efficient”.
Speaking on his agenda Sambo emphasized the need to restore the reputation of the NHIS after allegations of corruption which has been its bane.
“I talked about the three pronged rebranding agenda we have. Number one is restoring value and orientation, so that we will convert NHIS from a docile organization to a result driven organization. We’ve said that we want a NHIS that is very transparent and accountable, because there have been so many issues that border on transparency and accountability.
“We have also talked about accelerating the drive towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through consolidating existing programmes and creating innovative programmes”.
Earlier in his presentation for the opening segment of the meeting, the NHIS boss, listed industrial disharmony, a high turnover of CEOs (twelve in twenty years), poor implementation of the regulatory role of the NHIS and a fractured relationship between stakeholders as age long problems of the agency.
He however explained his 10-point plan through which he would ensure that these challenges are resolved and the Health agency is fully re-positioned.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari in July sacked Prof Usman Yusuf as NHIS Executive-Secretary based on the recommendation of a panel of enquiry which had been set up to investigate some of his activities while in office.
The president also approved the dissolution of the Governing Board of the agency, even as he directed the Permanent Secretary of the ministry of health “to exercise full powers of the council pending the constitution of a new board.”