The Federal Ministry of Health on Tuesday in Abuja inaugurated the Governing Boards and Councils of some tertiary health institutions and agencies.
A new governing council for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was among the boards inaugurated by the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole.
The 11-member Council is chaired by Enyantu Ifenne, a paediatrician.
Welcoming the Governing Council, the Executive Secretary of NHIS, Usman Yusuf, said the new council ”will help douse the already perceived tension in the scheme”.
“The council will offer the Scheme a fresh breath of air, by dousing the tension in the system and leading the way forward,” Mr. Yusuf said in a statement by Ayo Osinlu, spokesperson of the scheme Thursday.
There has been palpable tension in the outfit since the news of Mr. Yusuf’s controversial reinstatement broke.
President Muhammadu Buhari last month reinstated Mr. Yusuf six months after he was suspended by the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, following allegations of gross misconduct.
Some NHIS workers last Thursday downed tools as Mr. Yusuf resumed work at the headquarters of the agency in Abuja.
According to the workers, reinstating Mr. Yusuf was contrary to fairness and equity. Some other workers, however, demonstrated in support of the NHIS chief.
Mr. Yusuf had in his first statement after the reinstatement urged the public not to be distracted by what ”they hear on or read in the media about his reinstatement by President Buhari”.
On Thursday, Mr. Yusuf solicited the support and cooperation of the management and staff of the Scheme for the council, “to facilitate their constructive interventions and leadership”.
Addressing the management of the Scheme, the council chairman, Mr. Ifenne, acknowledged that the Council members were familiar with the enormous challenges facing the organisation, and pledged that the council was committed to resolving them.
She expressed concern that the primary purpose of the scheme, which is to make healthcare physically and financially available to all Nigerians, is becoming far-fetched.
Evidence of this, she said, is the unacceptably low coverage level, which ”must be addressed vigorously by all stakeholders”.
Mr. Ifenne, also regretted that the Scheme has been consistent in the news in recent times for “unflattering reasons.” She promised that she will take full advantage of the resourcefulness and vast exposure of the members of the council to address all thorny issues within the ambit of the laws setting up the Scheme.
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