The Nigerian government has launched the operational guidelines for the 2022 National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Act as part of efforts to ensure all Nigerians have access to affordable healthcare services.
Speaking at the event, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Pate, said access to affordable quality health care for all Nigerians is key on the path to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Mr Pate said the NHIA Act 2022 has operationalised these guidelines to provide direction so that as a country, the government will work in a concerted way to expand the affordability of health care for all, especially the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerians.
He noted that the operational guideline has been developed in a consultative manner through engagement with various stakeholders.
“It is Nigerians coming together to say that people should not be pushed into poverty because of the cost of ill health.
“As we implement on the basis of these guidelines, we should see that more Nigerians are covered over time to meet the goals that have been set by Mr President for his administration”.
The minister also charged all state governments to brace up for adequate implementation to benefit Nigerians at the sub-national level.
“What we need to see is state stepping up by putting the right calibre of human resources at the state health insurance schemes providing coverage for their own formal employees,” he said.
“So if we see that the federal and state governments are working hand in hand, Nigerians will get to a point where when somebody has malaria or their child is sick, or have hypertension, cancer or something like that, they will have some reduced burden from the cost of healthcare.”
NHIA DG speaks
The Director General of NHIA, Muhammad Sambo, while speaking at the ceremony in Abuja on Tuesday, said the operational guideline is crucial to clarify the roles, responsibilities, and obligations of various stakeholders in the health sector.
Mr Sambo said the guidelines will also facilitate the implementation of health insurance in Nigeria.
“The NHIA Act of 2022 laid the foundation for a transformative healthcare system in Nigeria that genuinely aspires to leave no one behind. No Nigerian should choose between their health and financial well-being,” he said.
Mr Sambo, the NHIA boss, said the guidelines clarify the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders within the health insurance ecosystem.
He said it also specifies the Basic Minimum Package of Health Services for all Nigerians and how schemes will strategically purchase these services across the country.
“The guidelines specify standards for the accreditation of critical stakeholders operating within the health insurance ecosystem as well as the penalties for offences committed by defaulting stakeholders,” he said.
“The document also recognises the integration of SSHIAs as conceptualised in the Health Insurance Under One Roof (HIUOR) coordination framework.”
Mr Sambo said he is convinced that the NHIA operational guidelines will be the guiding light for the nation’s health insurance ecosystem.”
“I also believe these guidelines are the roadmap to the better, healthier future we collectively envision for ourselves as a country.”
Mr Sambo added that one of the cornerstones of these guidelines is the principle of equity.
“We firmly believe that every citizen of this great Nation has the right to healthcare services that are not only accessible but also affordable. No one should have to choose between their health and their financial stability.”
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