In a massive redeployment of staff, the management of the Nigerian Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has announced the transfer of about 200 employees.
The transferred officials were directed to leave their present posting to new states. The redeployments are to take immediate effect, the management said.
The redeployments were contained in an NHIS internal memo exclusively obtained by PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday morning.
About 201 names are contained in the memo as workers affected in the shake-up.
Dated February 1, 2020, the memo was signed by Sani Garba, the general manager, human resources and administration at the NHIS.
“This is to inform all staff that in line with managements’ resolution to strengthen and promote commitment and productivity for the accelerated drive towards Universal Health Coverage, the ES/CEO has approved the posting of the under-listed staff to the respective state offices,& the memo read.
“The state coordinators are requested to assign functions to each posted staff in line with their positions, qualifications and experiences.
“All postings are with immediate effect. The process of handing/taking over and reporting is one week from the date of the memo. All state coordinators are to submit fully endorsed assumption of duty forms of the reported staff to the undersigned.
When contacted Tuesday evening to request the thinking behind the redeployments, Emmanuel Ononokpono, the NHIS spokesperson, said he would get back to this reporter. He did not get back as of press time.
While many of the workers were redeployed from the NHIS headquarters in Abuja to various states, others were transferred between states.
While some of the workers affected in the transfer questioned its rational citing the COVID-19 situation, others expressed surprise over the move.
“This is not a good time for this kind of transfers. Some of the states the workers are transferred to among the high priority states affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the transferred officials, who does not want his name mentioned for fear of victimisation, said.
Another transferred official said he was surprised about the transfer as most of the affected workers were involved in the transformation project of the NHIS
Health insurance has been globally recognised as the fastest route for any country to achieve Universal Health Coverage.
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Nigeria launched the National Health Scheme in 2005 – the same year with Ghana.
But today, not up to 10 per cent of Nigerians have health insurance, while Ghana’s scheme has covered over 50 per cent of its population.
The failure of the NHIS to deliver heralded the quest for the establishment of State Health Insurance Schemes (SHIS) by various states.
SHIS offers each state a more feasible platform to manage their own health insurance for residents.
Lagos, Niger, Delta, Anambra are among about 20 states that have begun implementation of the SHIS.