The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is to play an important role in the wider national effort to rebuild healthcare infrastructure in the North East geopolitical region.
The Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof. MN Sambo dropped this hint in Abuja when a high level delegation from Borno State government paid him a courtesy visit, recently.
Sambo noted the importance of putting in place an effective healthcare financing system, stressing that development is unbalanced without infrastructure to support critical services such as healthcare.
Outlining the pledge for assistance to the region, Sambo stated that the process of accrediting healthcare facilities in Borno State by the Scheme had began in earnest, affirming that the accreditation exercise would be fast-tracked and special consideration accorded the state against the backdrop of the security challenges it is currently experiencing.
According to him, the Scheme’s intervention through its various service platforms will improve the health indices in the region, adding that its state offices across the country were being strengthened with skilled and relevant personnel as well as infrastructure to address identified shortcomings in the 36 states and the FCT.
While highlighting benefits of synergy between NHIS and State Health Insurance Agencies, the health insurance boss stressed that achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the country was a task that can be achieved when all stakeholders within the health insurance ecosystem collaborate effectively, expressing the optimism that UHC was achievable within the set ten-year timeline.
Proffering ways of speeding up healthcare coverage, Sambo stated that in months from now the business processes of the Scheme will be fully automated, adding that critical and relevant equipment were being deployed to states as part of overall effort to set up the e-NHIS platform.
Speaking earlier, the leader of the delegation, Prof. Isa Marte Hussaini, who is the chief of Staff to the Governor of Borno State expressed regrets over the damage caused by insurgency in the state, noting that healthcare infrastructure such as hospitals have been destroyed in the decade-long battle against insurgents.
Recalling his twenty-five year experience in the United States of America, Hussaini acknowledged the pivotal role of health insurance in health care delivery, noting that Borno state government had established its State Health Insurance Agency and put relevant structures such as governing board and management in place for effective operation of the programme.
Hussaini who also heads the Borno State Ministry of Health said the delegation was seeking the assistance of the Scheme in speedy accreditation of its healthcare facilities as well as technical support for enrolment of vulnerable groups in the state.
While expressing gratitude for the audience granted by the Executive Secretary, he observed that ICT equipment deployed by the scheme in the state health insurance agency had been installed.
The insurgency has displaced at least one million people in the Borno state.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof MN Sambo has taken receipt of the first batch of the NHIS enrollee identity cards from NIGCOMSAT, the technical partner handling the process.
During a brief ceremony at the Corporate Head Office of the Scheme, an obviously delighted Prof Sambo stated that the identity cards represented a significant milestone in the path to automation of the NHIS business processes, adding that when e-NHIS comes on stream fully, enrollment activities such as registration, change of provider and others will be less cumbersome.
According to him, the NHIS identity card symbolizes the Scheme’s commitment to access to quality healthcare for all Nigerians, observing that the Scheme had not produced identity cards for years.