The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has continued to sustain its drive towards the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) with the launching of the Group Individual and Family Social Health Insurance Programme (GIFSHIP) in three States.
The series of launchings took place in Ojoto and Obosi in Idemili South and North Local Government areas both in Anambra State and Inisa and Ogbomoso in Osun and Oyo States respectively.
GIFSHIP was officially launched nationally in Abuja in November 2020 by the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.
The platform is the Scheme’s flagship for enrollment of persons outside the formal sector of the economy.
In his address at the occasion in Anambra State, the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Mohammed Sambo underscored the significance of the enrollment of persons under the programme as an indication of the fact that the drive towards universal health coverage was gathering speed, adding that GIFSHIP was developed to ensure that every Nigerian across all socio-economic strata had access to affordable and quality healthcare.
Sambo further stated that the programme is a practical demonstration of the prospects of extending coverage to the non-formal sectors of the economy, adding that GIFSHIP was an innovative approach to financing healthcare for persons whose incomes are personally generated. He stressed further that the attainment of UHC was embedded in President Muhammadu Buhari administration next level agenda for health.
Highlighting the importance of strategic partnerships between the NHIS and the National Assembly in advancing the mandate of the Scheme, Sambo emphasized that the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) could only be achieved with the active cooperation of all stakeholders within the health insurance ecosystem.
Sambo who was represented by the Anambra State Coordinator of the Scheme, Mrs. Chinyere Aniebo congratulated the sponsor, Mrs. Joyce Umoren for providing an invaluable window of opportunity for the partnership between the National Assembly and the Scheme, which he described as a ‘win-win’ for both the constituents who are direct beneficiaries and NHIS as a regulator which has set its sights on the achieving of Universal Health Coverage.
Speaking at the occasion, the chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Health, Dr Tanko Sununu who was represented by Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu, stated that the launching of GIFSHIP in the area was a clear indication of the National Assembly’s commitment to the the healthcare needs of their constituents, stressing that the house of Representatives was determined to ensuring increased budgetary funding for healthcare.
According to him, the key objective of the programme is to provide opportunities for Nigerians outside the formal sector employment to access quality health care without financial hardship, stressing that the NHIS standard benefit package was inclusive and met local disease burden.
The programme will provide healthcare coverage for 550 beneficiaries for two years.
The lawmaker urged the beneficiaries to take advantage of the opportunity.
On the sidelines of the occasion at Ojoto was the unveiling of the New Yam by His Royal Highness, Igwe Gerald Obunadike Mbamalu, Ksm, Eze Oranyelu I, Eze Ojoto 111.
In Inisa, Osun state and Ogbomoso in Oyo State, 250 and 283 beneficiaries were enrolled into health insurance.
In Inisa, Prof Sambo gave the assurance that quality healthcare was guaranteed under the Scheme, adding that NHIS has succeeded in changing previously held perception that quality healthcare was an exclusive preserve of the rich.
The Executive Secretary, who was represented by Dr. Kapoona Eteng, head of NHIS-GIFSHIP desk, maintained that out-of-pocket expenditure for healthcare was one of the causes of poverty, stressing that social health insurance held the key to unlocking the door to efficient healthcare delivery system in Nigeria.
Speaking at the occasion, the chairman of the house of representative Committee on health, who was represented by Hon Prince Omoloye commended the scheme for designing GIFSHIP which has brought succour to his constituents by providing healthcare for them.
Outside Abuja, Auchi, Edo State was the first state where GIFSHIP was first launched.