Mohammed Sambo, the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), says the agency has achieved Universal Health Coverage (UHC) of the nation’s formal sector.
Mr Sambo made the disclosure at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja on Sunday.
He said that all workers in federal government agencies had been captured in the NHIS, which he said, had enabled the agency to achieve UHC in that regard.
According to him, the development has made workers to access quality healthcare without having to bear financial hardships.
He explained that the Formal Sector Programme of the NHIS included federal civil service workers and those in uniformed services.
The executive secretary noted that NHIS was responsible for federal government agencies, while state insurance agencies would take care of state government workers.
“If you go down the ladder, however, you will see people who are not employed by either the federal or state governments; these are people who are self-employed — men and women as well as children and retired workers.
“We, therefore, developed Group Individual and Family Social Health Insurance Programme (GIFSHIP) for those who are not covered under the formal scheme.
“That is why we are advocating that philanthropists can come to the aid of the people by helping to contribute for them.
“We are also discussing with donor agencies to also contribute in covering the vulnerable that cannot be covered under GIFSHIP.
“We are also thinking of other innovative financing. Discussions are going on to introduce innovative financing through probably, taxation that can bring in resources into health insurance.”
The NHIS scribe also said there were people that were poor and vulnerable, who the federal government was contributing resources for through the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) so that they would come into the NHIS ecosystem.
The BHCPF was introduced in 2014 as part of the National Health Act to basically remove financial barriers to accessing Primary Health Care (PHC). It meant to provide essential services to the most vulnerable members of the population and promote equitable service utilisation.
The Act earmarks one per cent of Consolidated Federal Revenue (CFR) for the fund to enable supply-and demand-side investments for PHC.
To achieve these, the BHCPF utilises two approaches to improve service delivery in at least one PHC per ward in Nigeria.
This carried out through direct financial investments that funds critical upgrade for PHC infrastructure, improving availability of skilled staff and assuring stock of medicines and health commodities.
Another way is through the purchase of a Basic Minimum Package of Health Services (BMPHS) from PHC providers at no cost to Nigerians.
The NHIS boss said that “rural communities, who cannot afford medical bills are supposed to benefit from the BHCPF.
“On Feb. 16, we launched the BHCPF programme for rural community dwellers and we know that the amount of resources from BHCPF is not sufficient to cover all the rural communities.
“But these are some of the initiatives we are using to ensure that the rural communities are covered.”
Sambo said that the NHIS was using the concept of Health Insurance Under One Roof (HIUOR) to generate information about the people not covered either by NHIS or the state health insurance agencies.
“As at our last calculation, about 12 million Nigerians were captured through these arrangements.”
He added that the NHIS was focusing on achieving its mandate to ensure healthcare for all Nigerians and to help in cushioning the financial hardships usually incurred while seeking medical care.
“That is the concept of social health insurance. It is essentially to protect families and individuals from incurring financial hardships.
“When people are sick and don’t have money at that given time, they embark on different kinds of behaviours. They may want to seek for loan.’’
Mr Sambo said that the NHIS was primarily created as a purchasing agency, whereby contributions would be made under the principal of solidarity.
This, he explained, is a situation where the rich and the poor would contribute to a common pool for the benefit of all.