By Prudence Ijah
The Executive-Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Professor Mohammed Sambo has said the agency is going digital through electronic-NHIS (e-NHIS) to eliminate the poor service delivery, as well as eradicate Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) inducement of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for enrolment.
Sambo announced this at a parley with health correspondents in Kaduna on Friday, adding that the introduction of e-NHIS would make the scheme to digitalise its operations and eliminate manual process.
“We cannot have effective NHIS if we continue to operate manually”, he noted.
He stated that NHIS will save the Nigeria government about N6 billion with establishment of e-NHIS as work is going on to achieve this feat.
“We are hoping that by end of this year, NHIS system will be fully automated and connect all health insurance actors in Nigeria.
“HMOs induce MDAs to select them as HMOs, when we go digital, individuals will select their HMOs, there is no going to be group registration with e-NHIS because it will eliminate that process”.
“If one million are choosing a particular HMO on day one, I will be able to access the enrolment from my office. “We will be able to know the number of enrolees from our office and ICT team will be able to get all necessary information.
“Other benefits of going digital is that it will eliminate crisis of HMOs not paying the service providers because if we pay HMOs, it will definitely show from the dashboard,’’ he added.
Sambo further said that e-NHIS had been on drawing board for a very long time, but his administration was able to start the implementation within one year.
Speaking on other achievements of his tenure from 2019 to 2020, Sambo said he had been able to address human resources, administrative and financial management bottlenecks.
“We have been able to recreate the organisational image and restored stakeholders’ confidence and also restored internal peace and harmony as well as addressed technical/operational challenges.
“We have introduced innovative financing initiatives and we are working on catastrophic fund for cancer patients because the money we have accumulated in NHIS cannot cover chronic diseases.
“We are working to cover the elderly. A committee has been inaugurated to achieve this, we have also inaugurated Group Individual and Family Social Health Insurance Programme (GIFSHIP),’’ he said.
The Executive-Secretary also said the scheme had developed concept of Health Insurance Under One Roof (HIUOR); a framework for effective integration and coordination of health insurance activities in Nigeria.
He said the HIOUR would help in effective integration and coordination of health insurance activities in Nigeria towards the attainment of Universal Health Coverage in the country.
“The objective of HIUOR is to define the roles, responsibilities and operational modalities for the effective implementation of a decentralised health insurance system in Nigeria.
“Also, to provide a framework that will facilitate the smooth operations of all stakeholders in the health insurance eco-system; to provide a framework for harnessing innovative financing opportunities for effective risk equalisation.
“HIOUR will help to provide a peer review and joint learning platform for all stakeholders in the health insurance ecosystem,’’ he stated.
Sambo further said the scheme had been hosting stakeholders’ engagement to achieve its rebranding reforms, adding that the scheme had engaged enrolees, development partners, drug manufacturers, HMOs and editors, among others.
He, however, tasked journalists on accurate, detailed and objective reportage of NHIS activities as he assured them of providing necessary information to enrich their reports.