Engaging politicians on health financing to achieve UHC Engaging politicians on health financing to achieve UHCSome members of the PanelAn analysis by Abiemwense Moru, News Agency of Nigeria As election year draws closer, it is important that the health sector should be one of the main talking points of political conversations.
This is because, it is only when one is well and healthy that will begin to think of any economic, political or social activity.
However, this has not been the case as ethnicity, religion and other issues have remained on the front burner, forgetting the popular saying that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation.
This maxim makes it imperative for political office aspirants to articulate a comprehensive health financing mechanism to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), where all individuals and communities receive health services they need without suffering financial hardship.
And to achieve UHC and more, Nigeria Health Watch organised a conference on the Future of Health in Nigeria to remind politicians vying for offices in the 2023 general elections to take note, key in and make provisions toward ensuring good health for all Nigerians.
At one of the events which took place in Abuja, the Managing Director of Nigeria Health Watch, Mrs Vivianne Ihekweazu, said “in a few months, Nigerians will be going to the polls to decide on the new leadership that will drive all sectors of the economy for the next four years.
“In spite of the health sector being a critical driver of the economy across the globe, it has not received optimum attention across different leaderships.
“Achieving UHC requires strong political will at different levels of governance, including the national and sub-national level.
” Ihekweazu said at the media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) roundtable organised by Nigeria Health Watch in collaboration with Centre for Universal Health that “as political parties begin their campaigns, it is important that CSOs and the media engage their candidates as well as citizens.
“For the candidates, this engagement will put into perspective, the challenges in the health sector and the required policy interventions that will change the narrative.
” According to her, the media as agenda setters should work toward making politicians commit to public health financing a key part of their manifestoes.
Ihekweazu’s position was buttressed by Robert Yates, Executive Director, Centre for Universal Health when he said “as media, how can you change the political discourse, you can do it, and it does happen, if the politicians and individuals emerge, they will get it.
“This will involve sensational reporting of people dying in the hospitals as they need to be catered for, put your heads together and identify the leaders who are willing.
” Dr Grafar Alawode, the Programme Director, DGI Consult, shared and reviewed the work done by the UHC2023 Forum on Citizen-led Health Agenda.
He said that Nigeria had made some progress in terms of fighting child and infant mortality, adding that maternal health care required more health system strengthening of having health care workers and facilities in place.
Alawode, therefore, called for the incorporation of the role of other sectors in health design and implementation.
He also called for leveraging Human Capital Development as springboard for multi-sectoral and coordinated actions that include health, education, nutrition, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and livelihood sectors.
Also, Dr Omokhudu Idogho, the Managing Director, Society for Family Health, said it is critical to take UHC to the states level “because I see situations where a lot of fundamentals at the federal level are soon coming together, some of the laws are in place and how this work will be determined at the state level.
” Ifeyinwa Yusuf, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Nigeria Health Watch, said there is need to do more in exploring other internal local resources to increase and pool public financing for health.
She said a human capital development approach should be employed in communication to the government for increased funds allocation and release for health.
“We have to do things differently, by contextualising our interventions and communication to identify influential who can bring a change in the health space, engage with each other more, the media and CSOs.” Meanwhile, Prof. Ben Akabueze, the Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, says health investment service is a catalyst for economic growth.
Akabueze said this at the 8th Future of Health Conference with the theme “The Political Economy of Health: Investing on the Future of Nigeria,” organised by Nigeria Health Watch was germane because it would provide the opportunity to discuss the determinants of health outcomes in various options available for sustainable healthcare financing in Nigeria.
Akabueze, who was represented by Prof. Olumide Ayodele, the Technical Assistant to the director-general, Budget Office of the Federation, said the event also created an avenue to discuss measures for effective healthcare delivery across the country.
Akabueze, who gave keynote address on financing healthcare sustainably in Nigeria, said the importance of improved healthcare services for economic growth and development could not be overemphasised.
According to him, health investment service is a catalyst for economic growth through higher labour force, higher labour productivity, innovations and improved well-being of the population.
He added that “it is generally said that health is wealth; a healthy population engenders economic prosperity.
“It is, therefore, imperative to ensure significant investment in health, effective delivery of healthcare services and equitable access to healthcare services.
“Health is high on Nigeria’s development agenda; in view of social economic returns of healthcare investment, a key objective of the National Development Plan 2021- 2025 is to enable a healthy population.
” Akabueze, who said there was need for primary healthcare to be funded at the local government level, urged stakeholders to be involved to reduce mortality rate and enhance workforce.
He urged government, CSOs and business associates to shape and monitor health interventions to ensure the desired impact.
He also commended the consistency of the Nigeria Health Watch for organising health conferences focusing on topical issues.
Also, Prof. Mohammed Sambo, the Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), said it was discovered that the first law establishing Health Insurance scheme was not able to take Nigerians closer to UHC.
He explained that health insurance everywhere in the world is to ensure that everyone is covered, adding that “in Nigeria, successive administrations have tried to amend the NHIS law for 23 years but not able to get that done.
“However, on May 19 this year, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Act was repealed and the National Health Insurance Authority Law was enacted.
“The implication of the new law is that health insurance will now be for every Nigerian and every resident in Nigeria.
“The law has also made provision for the coverage of vulnerable population.
Health Insurance is normally not a free healthcare as somebody has to pay.
“As someone who is not employed has no means of payment because of his economic status, someone has to pay for him or her.
“That is why in this new law, there is Vulnerable Group Fund provision with various innovative financing mechanism employed to ensure that vulnerable people receive health services.
He, therefore, said that funding should come from innovative financing mechanism to bring money into the healthcare delivery system as no country had been able to achieve UHC without public financing.
On her part, Dr Sarah Alade, the pecial Adviser to the President on Finance and Economy, said discussions on healthcare are ongoing because of its importance, noting, however, that when people are poor, health spending is least because they have to feed first.
“At the same time, however, we cannot have sustainable development without health.
” Also, Dr Obi Ikechukwu, the Commissioner for Health, Enugu State, who spoke on political leadership in health, said that health system governance must be strengthened for accountability.
“Health system governance means strategic frameworks that existed and combined with effective oversight, coalition building, regulation, attention to system design and accountability.
” He explained that strong governance in health systems must be guided by competent leaders with clear vision and the ability to motivate and mobilise other health system stakeholders.
He called for political leaders who would ensure a complete state of physical, social and mental wellbeing and not just the absence of disease.
Ikechukwu also said there should be a continuous state of adjustment of physical, social, mental and environmental stimulus.
He added that there should be a commitment to determination of the cost of healthcare which would drive efficient health benefits package at all levels.
Dr Hakeem Belo-Osagie, the Chairman, Metis Capital Partners in his opening presentation, said there is need to look into how the government economy is being run as a whole and what the money is spent on.
He said “ensure those contesting for 2023 elections have interest in our economy.
Health is a priority and it should be health and health.
“Public healthcare is crucial, sanitation is crucial as good sanitation goes far in health.
” During panel discussion on the Economy of Health, Dr Olumide Okunola, Senior Health Specialist, Health Population and Nutrition, World Bank, said without public health financing, achieving UHC would be difficult.
He explained that for livelihood to improve, the economy must get better as faster growth is needed to create greater opportunities.
He said “if you can reduce petroleum subsidy, you can finance health, education, among others.
’’ Okunola expressed concern on how local government spending would be accounted for, now that they have autonomy, saying “will local councils spend on health?
How do you ensure more than 95 million Nigerians are able to survive?
,” he asked.
He, therefore, said there is need to establish strong foundation for a diversified economy and investing in physical, financial, digital and innovation infrastructure.
“There is need to build solid framework and enhance capacities to strengthen security and ensure good governance and enabling a vibrant, educated and healthy populace.
“Prominence should be accorded to human capital development especially health, education and social protection in resource allocation.
” Another panelist, Prof. Obinna Onwujekwe, Lancet Nigeria Commissioner, said public health is known for at least two decades that good health can be achieved at low cost if the right policies are in place.
“We know this from comparative studies of countries at the same level of economic development that revealed striking differences in health outcomes.
“According to the studies, factors that contribute to good health at low cost include a commitment to equity, effective governance systems, and context-specific programmes that address the wider social and environmental determinants of health.
“An ability to innovate is also important.
Above all, government needs to be committed.
” Another panelist, Dr Onoriode Ezire, Senior Health Specialist, World Bank, who noted that Nigeria’s health sector is still largely underfunded, said investment in health is directly related to the growth of the economy.
Ezire said the indexes are still poor, adding that productivity of the country is a function of the state and status of the health of the people in the country.
According to him, investment in health contributes to achieving other developmental goals like reduction in equity and promoting shared prosperity.
“Government at all levels must prioritise health as lessons from COVID-19 are still fresh in our minds.
Government may use a mix of method to prioritise health funding.
“Civil society and health promoters have a role to play.
Advocate as may be necessary, provide the relevant evidences and data, improve the quality and timeliness of our data,” Onoriode advised.
The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has embarked on sensitisation of stakeholders on key developments contained in the new Act to ensure effective service delivery.
towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
The NHIA Coordinator in Yobe, Alhaji Muhammad Mustapha, disclosed this at the sensitisation venue in Damaturu on Thursday.
He said “we organised this engagement to sensitise stakeholders on recent developments and innovations introduced in the NHIA Act 2022 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
’’ Signed by the president on May 19, Buhari said the development is part of his administration’s efforts to ensure health coverage for Nigerians.
The preseident said that “the NHIA repeals the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Act in existence since 2004.” He added that “as part of our healthcare reforms, I have signed into law the recently passed National Health Insurance Authority Bill 2022, which repeals the National Health Insurance Scheme Act. We will ensure the full implementation of the new Act to provide coverage for all Nigerians.
”He also said that the new NHIA will collaborate with state government health insurance schemes to accredit primary and secondary healthcare facilities and ensure the enrollment of Nigerians.
Provisions made in the NHIA are to reduce out-of-pocket spending for health services.
The Yobe NHIA coordinator, therefore, urged stakeholders to pay attention during the sensitisation for maximum benefit and onward transmission to others.
In his presentation, Malam Mansur Akilu, the NHIA Unit Head of Finance and Administration in Yobe, explained that under the new Act, every Nigerian and other residents are mandated by law to get health insurance.
He added that the Act created an oversight and regulatory body for Health Insurance Schemes and clearly defined roles.
He said Third Party Administrators (TPAs) are now intermediaries to facilitate claims between the insurer and the insured, unlike in the old Act. He pointed out that the new Act removed representatives of Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) as part of its governing council.
He said the NHIA Act 2022 empowers the authority to serve as regulator, implementer, investor and insurer of health insurance practices and schemes in Nigeria.
According to him, the new NHIA Act stipulates the creation of Vulnerable Group Fund to subsidise health insurance coverage for vulnerable persons.
The unit head urged the stakeholders to disseminate the information received at the sensitisation to the public, who are the target audience.
The September/October 2022 issue of Luxury and Business PLEASURES Magazine (www.PleasuresMagazine.com.ng) highlights the African Industrial Conference and the 2022 #AIDCA Awards, won by Her Majesty Ogiame Atuwatse III, the Olu of Warri , Emir of Zazzau, His Highness, Amb. Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli, Overseer General of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, and Group CEO of The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd), Malam Mele Kolo Kyari, among others.
The air of glitz that radiated from the epoch-making event echoed far beyond the shores of Nigeria as the winners won grand prizes supported by eminent personalities such as Her Excellency, Arc. Namadi Sambo, Former Vice President of Nigeria, Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu GamboSr. John Asein, CEO, Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Senator Andy Ubah, Dr. Ibukun Adebayo (CEO - Rock Realty Limited), Dr. Umaru Abdul Mutallab, Chairman, Jaiz Bank Plc, and Bashir Ahmed (Assistant special on digital communications of President Buhari).
Other dignitaries among those who attended the event also included Inimfon Etuk (Founder, She Forum Africa), Her Excellency Alayingi Sylva, wife of the Minister of Petroleum, Hon. Kabir Tukura Ibrahim, Member of the House of Representatives, Zuru/Fakai/Danko-Wasagu/Sakaba Federal Constituency of Kebbi Stat, Ahmed Modibbo, General Manager, Highland Disc Acquisition Co. Ltd., Ing. Ali Rabiu, Council for the Engineering Regulation in Nigeria (COREN), Mr. Oke Afolabi, CEO/Managing Director, Global Infoswift Technologies, Abba Bello (Dan Adalan Katsina), MD/CEO Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM Bank), Prof. Mohammed Nasir Sambo, Executive Secretary/CEO of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Mohammed Sani Sidi, MFR, former Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Alhaji Lawal Bindawa (Zannan Katsina).
Warri's Olu emerged as the AIDCA Humanitarian Royal Father of the Year after coming top in an online vote, while His Highness Emir of Zazzau took the AIDCA Outstanding Peacemaker/Traditional Ruler Award.
Year of AIDCA.
Similarly, Mele Kolo Kyari won the 2022 AIDA Outstanding Industrial Revolution Leader of the Year award, and Pastor Enoch Adeboye emerged as the 2022 AIDA Outstanding Clergy/Humanitarian of the Year. The AIDCA Award which took place at Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja was held with the theme: "Enabling Transformation in the Digital Economy".
At the well-attended creme de la creme event, Dr. Ibrahim Bello Dauda, director general of the Sahelian Center for Leadership and Development and national head of the All Progressives Congress (APC), won the Outstanding Exemplary Leader award from the Year 2022, while Charles Chukwuemeka, CEO of Tent Group Limited, emerged as AIDA's Outstanding Real Estate Company of the Year 2022.
Hajiya Nana Aisha Gambo, the wife of Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, currently serving as the National President of Naval Officers' Wives Association (NOWA), Hajia Aisha Bagudu - Founder, Mallpai Foundation and First Lady of Kebbi State, the former first arch lady of Benue state.
Yemisi Suswam (Ph.D., FNIA) won the 2022 Outstanding Humanitarian of the Year Award.
Additionally, Afro Arab Group of Companies Chairman and CEO, Ambassador Alhaji Salamu Amadu, took home the 2022 AIDA Entrepreneur of The Year Award, while Dr. Lola Bayode, founder of the Dorian Home for Charity and Social Development, took home the AIDA Outstanding 2022 Humanitarian of the Year award.
Meanwhile, Dr. Remi Duyile, President and CEO of Image Consulting Group, USA, won the AIDA Outstanding Diaspora Leader of The Year 2022 award.
All honorees were widely accepted in their fields of activity as pioneers and bridge builders, with a history of excellence and a clear vision in leadership.
AIDCA 2022 was packaged by Dotmount Communications Group in collaboration with Yahoo Finance, Associated Press and The Times of Jerusalem.
It featured global thought leaders who shared ideas and discussed the latest development trends, economic issues, and experiences from different countries on the continent.
Residents of Ondo State have expressed a grave concern over the slow pace of development in the nation’s health, agriculture and education sectors.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria in Akure on Monday that it was unfortunate that Nigeria at 62 years, still depends largely on the foreign nations to survive.
Commenting, Mr Abayomi Monilari, the President, Ondo State Farmers Congress, compared Nigeria to a 62-year- old man, who still depends on others to survive.
Monilari, also the state Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) said, “It is unfortunate that Nigeria still depends on others to feed itself at 62.” He also said it was unfortunate that with the numbers of years of existence as a nation, Nigeria was still importing agricultural products from the neighbouring countries.
According to him, it is not a good omen that the country relies on importing agricultural products, in spite of the expanse of arable lands that it is endowed with.
“We ought to have improved beyond this pedestal level.
The government should do something, if possible, ban everything ‘banable’.
“By the time we suffer for a year, we will get to the promised land.
“We need to put up a lot of sacrifice to be able to achieve any tangible thing as far as food production is concerned.
“If we believe we should be importing, it won’t allow us to grow.
We need to grow agriculturally.
“We have neglected some important things in the past, which could have made the agricultural sector to grow,” he said.
Monilari said that our eyes seem to have been opened to the reality now.
“We should be able to do the needful to take agriculture to the next level.
“The government should encourage the farmers more so that they can do these things.
“When we talk of rice, we can produce it, if we have an enabling environment.
There is no need to import rice.
“I think we should forget about importing anything agriculture product; we should be self-reliant,” the president of the farmers said.
Also, Dr Ibikunle Fakorede, a former President, Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Federal Medical Centre, Owo, called for the declaration of a state of emergency in the nation’s health sector.
Fakorede, decrying the state of health in Nigeria, regretted that the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Act, “is not rendering the expected services to Nigerian people”.
According to him, Nigeria needs to overhaul the NHIA Act, have new laws and also incorporate the market women and artisans into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
“A suggestion for better services is for telecommunications service providers such as MTN, Airtel among others, to tax on phone calls and give a certain percentage to the National Health Insurance Scheme.
“This overhaul won’t be an easy task because new laws need to be reenacted and other numerous things before the system normalises again.
“It will be tough for some years, but it needs to be done as soon as possible, because Nigeria has a long way to go.
“Our nurses, doctors and other health workers are leaving the country in droves for better remuneration.
“But, when you consider the workload and environment in which these health workers are subjected to here in Nigeria, and compare these with other smaller countries, even in Africa, we can’t blame them for seeking greener pastures,” he said.
In his reactions, Mr Sunday Bamidele, a Sociologist, said Nigeria, at its 62nd independence anniversary, had a lot to do to improve its education sector, adding “the standard is very low”.
Bamidele, who said the Nigerian education sector had been totally crippled, cited the ongoing strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as an example.
“We are the giant of Africa and our education standard should not be in comatose.
I blame our leaders for this.
“It is not something we should be proud of.
When compared to the education system in other climes, such as the western world or even South Africa, we are nowhere.
“If we have a scale of 10 to rate our education sector with the western world, then, we should be at two,” he said.
The sociologist, however, urged the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to the ASUU strike and to also take considerable measures to improve the nation’s education sector.
Stakeholders in the health sector have expressed happiness over the appreciable progress recorded in the sector in the 62 years of Nigeria’s independence.
The stakeholders including surgeons, academics, health practitioners and patients spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Bauchi and Gombe while reacting to the October 1, National Day Celebration.
The Gombe State Commissioner for Health, Dr Habu Dahiru said the trajectory in health sector had been impressive from 1960 to date.
According to him, the introduction of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) at federal and state levels is a thing of joy to Nigerians.
He said the scheme impacted positively on the lives of the citizens by enhancing access to quality and affordable healthcare services.
“In the late 1960s and 1970s, we don’t have NHIS, we relied on out-of-pocket expenses, a difficult situation even to the working class.
“The government has made it compulsory and it is working well, this is the best we have seen over the years though you cannot say the whole thing is across the board,” he said.
In the area of human resources, Dahiru said the country had enough skills to ensure effective delivery of quality healthcare services to the people.
He observed that the number of educational institutions providing training for medical and other health related disciplines had increased substantially in the country as against only one university in the 1960.Nigeria, he said, witnessed rapid health infrastructure development ranging from tertiary, secondary and primary health facilities across the country.
He, however, identified poor policy implementation and lack of snergy among partners as the major bane militating against sustainable development in the sector.
Also, Maryamu Luka, a retired Nursing Officer, said the establishment Teaching And Specialist Hospitals had encouraged specialisation and transform healthcare system in the country.
However, Sakina Hassan and Nasiru Musa, residents of Bauchi, expressed concerned over lack of trained personnel and professionals to facilitate effective management of healthcare facilities in the country.
She said that though government provided health facilities at all levels lack of adequate personnel was militating against its effective operations.
“The facilities are established almost in every community but the human resources needed for effective service delivery are not available.
“There is need to upgrade the health training schools to enable them to produce more trained personnel to address man power gap in the country, ” she said.
Musa advocated for proactive measures to encourage recruitment of trained health personnel as well as check brain drain in the sector.
He also called for increased funding to tertiary health institutions to encourage research and development.
Moreso; Elizabeth John, lauded the introduction of On-Call Healthcare service and free immunisation programmes.
She said the gesture enhanced children and women access to family health services at the grassroots.
“Patients can now access health information and medical care via Short Service Message (SNS),” she said.
For her part, Asma’u Yahaya, Chairperson, People Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) in Bauchi State, said that social inclusion in the sector had enabled physically challenged persons to access healthcare services at ease.
“The health sector is doing well, especially with social inclusion, people with special needs are accessing healthcare services without difficulties”.
The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has embarked on the sensitisation of Health Maintainance Organisations (HMOs) and Health Care Facilities (HCFs) in Kwara South Senatorial District on new Act of the authority.
The NIHA was formerly known as National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), until the the National Assembly recently amended the law establishing it.
Speaking on the sidelines of the campaign on Friday in Offa Local Government Area of the state, Alhaji Ahmed Yahaya, the Kwara Coordinator of NHIA, explained that the programme revolve around highlighting the new Act of the authority to the stakeholders.
According to him, it is expected to enlighten the NHIA partners on the new improved workings of the authority from the former NHIS.
Yahaya explained that health insurance was now mandatory for all Nigerians, and NHIA was expected to capture the citizens across board.
He said this could mean that most Nigerians who pay for health out of pocket, many of whom are thrown into poverty, as a result could not benefit from the national level mandatory health insurance.
“The new Act of NHIA mandates that by law every Nigerian will get health insurance, and requires all employers and employees in the public and private sectors in the formal and informal sectors to be captured in the scheme,” he said.
He stated that this is a major step towards the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
The NHIA Kwara boss observed that the new Act clearly defines the roles of this authority, including promoting, regulating and integrating health insurance schemes to all.
“It will also improve and harness private sector participation in the provision of healthcare service,” he said.
He added that the authority would sustain the enlightenment campaign across the state to ensure the new Act was fully understood.
Also speaking, Dr Wale Ibitoye, the Managing Director of Wale Clinics and Chairman of the occassion, observed that the scheme commenced operations since 2005 by the Obasanjo administration, focussing on the formal sector for Federal Government Civil Servants.
“But now there is hope that all Nigerians will benefit from the scheme,” he said.
Ibitoye observed that with the new Act of NHIA, health workers would be kept busy, while admonishing doctors in the country to stop seeing themselves as businessmen, adding they are stakeholders in charge of health.
“We are seen as businessmen.
We are stakeholders, who should carryout our profession subtly with love and concern for the public,” he said.
In their different presentations, Dr Mustapha Mohammed, Head of Programmes Unit of the authority, advised enrolless of the scheme to be familiar with their rights, adding that it is the right of enrollees to have access to healthcare without hindrance.
On his part, Dr Saka Ismail, Head of Unit, Standard and Quality Assurance of Kwara NHIA, noted that the authority was aware of complaints from enrollees of being administered low quality drugs, among other challenges.
He assured that the new act would eradicate any challenge and diminish any stumbling block to the success of the implementation of the scheme for Nigerians.
Editted by AbdulFatai Suleiman Tola Group photograph of NHIA sensitisation of HMOs and HCFs in Offa LGA of Kwara on Friday.
The Nigeria Health Insurance Authority Act 2022, now makes health insurance mandatory for all Nigerians, the Osun Coordinator of the NHIA, Mrs Nafisat Adekunle has said.
Adekunle made this known during an interactive forum with representatives of Federal Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs), health care facilities and Health Maintenance Organisation, on Thursday in Osogbo.
She explained that unlike under the old National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), which made health insurance optional, the NHIA Act, signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, now makes health insurance mandatory for all.
”The aim of the act is to enable Nigerians have access to affordable and quality health care.
”Under the NHIA act, all Nigerians, irrespective of whether they are self-employed, government workers, private workers, vulnerable groups, retirees, corps members, are adequately covered,” she said.
Adekunle said that the agency has embarked on continuous community mobilisation and sensitisation of people at the grassroots on the need for them to key into the health insurance.
She appealed to service providers and health management organisation to always treat the beneficiaries of the health scheme with respect and dignity.
Adekunle said the interactive forum was organised to intimate stakeholders with the NHIA Act. She said the NHIA act’s objective is to achieve universal health coverage by 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Also in his presentation, Mr Abiodun Adeyemo, the NHIA head of programmes, who spoke on the rights of enrollees of the NHIA, said beneficiaries of the health insurance have the right to easy access to quality healthcare without hindrance.
Adeyemo said that the beneficiaries also have the right to know the cost of drugs component for their treatment to ascertain the 10 per cent co-payment, among others.
According to him, under the act, there is a package called GIFSHIP- for Group, Family, or Individual social health insurance programme.
Adeyemo said the GIFSHIP was to ensure that all Nigerians, whether in formal or informal sector, individual or family, as well as private firm have access to quality and affordable health care.
Also, Dr Saheed Adeyemo, NHIA head of Standard and Quality Assurance, said that Osun had be chosen as one of the pilot states for NHIA medicine supply initiative.
Adeyemo said that the agency would continue to ensure that quality drugs were supplied and given to beneficiaries of NHIA by the service providers.
The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), on Wednesday advised healthcare service providers against substandard services to enrollees in order to improve on their health status.
Mrs Mary Aliu, the Nasarawa State Coordinator of NHIA gave the advice in her opening remark at a NHIA Stakeholders’ Forum in Lafia.
She said that the authority would not condone sharp practices while urging service providers to discharge their duties without fear or favour.
The state coordinator said the forum was to educate and sensitise service providers and other stakeholders on the new NHIA Act and discuss way forward for improved health status of Nigerians.
“We have changed from National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).
“The NHIA act was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari in order to achieve universal health coverage as the Federal Government is committed to Nigerians improved health status.
“It is to ensure that every Nigerian have access to quality healthcare at a very affordable rate,” she said.
According to her, the purpose of NHIA is to address the issue of out of pocket payment for healthcare services, improve Nigerians poor health status and strengthen national healthcare delivery system.
Aliu also advised healthcare service providers to respect the rights and privileges of enrollees for improved health status.
She commended Prof. Mohammed Sambo, the Director-General of NHIA for keying into different good health policies and programmes that have direct bearing on the health status of Nigerians.
The state coordinator said that NHIA would continue to partner companies on drug production in order to address issue of out of stock and to ensure the supply of quality drugs.
The state coordinator further assured of her continuous readiness to partner stakeholders and key into good health policies for improved health status of the people of the state and other Nigerians.
In his goodwill message, Dr Gaza Gwamna, the Executive Secretary, Nasarawa State Health Insurance Agency (NASHIA), urged Nigerians to embrace NHIA policies and programmes in the interest of their health.
Gwamna, represented by Mr Abdullahi Musa, NASHIA staff, expressed the agency’s readiness to partners stakeholders for quality healthcare service delivery in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the forum featured paper presentations on Rights and Privileges of an NHIA enrollee and other stakeholders by Mr Ernest Tarbo, Head of Department, NHIA ICT Department.
Others papers presented are the NHIA Medicine Supply Initiative, by Dr Gani Muhammad and Operations of the Group, Individual, Family Social Health Insurance Programme (GIFSHIP) by Mr Moses Abajara, NHIA Head of Internal Audit.
NAN also reports that Health Maintenance Organisations ( HMOs), Health Care Facilities ( HCFs), Nasarawa State Health Insurance Agency (NASHIA) security agencies, Federal MDAs among others attended the stakeholders’ forum .
The Nigerian Association of Nephrology Nurses has advocated free medicare services to stem chronic paediatric renal diseases in the country.
Mrs Ajibuke Omolola, National Chairman of the association, made the call during the inauguration of its 15th Annual Scientific Conference, on Tuesday in Gombe.
The theme of the conference is: “Modern Trend in Nephrology Nursing”.
She said that kidney disease cases were rampant, especially among children in the country.
“It has been giving us a sleepless night in trying to know the causes, how to prevent it and how to provide standard treatment to the condition of the children,” she said.
She, therefore, urged government at all levels to provide free dialysis for the patients, to enhance case management and treatment of the disease.
“Today, many patients can’t afford dialysis due to the economic situation.
“Patient with kidney disease, must have a specific number of dialysis in a week and the amount of the renal therapy increases daily,” she said.
The Nephrologist also advocated inclusion of kidney treatment into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), adding that the gesture would assist the indigent patients and enhance treatment of the disease.
In his remarks, Dr Habu Dahiru, the state Commissioner for Health, described the theme of the conference as apt and timely considering the effects of COVID-19 pandemic that exposed the deficiency in the health sector.
He urged the participants to deliberate and come up with modalities towards improving healthcare service delivery in the country.
He said the state government had established modern dialysis unit at the Gombe Specialist Hospital and trained five Nephrology nurses to ensure effective management of the facility.
The commissioner said that dialysis machines had been provided at the General Hospital Kaltungo and General Hospital Kumo, to augment the ones at the Gombe Specialist Hospital.
Acoording to him, the state government has also embarked on construction of College of Nursing and Midwifery, adding that the school was designed to accomodate about 600 students population.
Gov. Inuwa Yahaya tasked the association to scale up sensitisation activities to create awareness on causes, symptoms and preventive tips of renal disease.
Represented by his deputy, Manassah Jatau, Yahaya reiterated commitment to enhance quality healthcare service delivery in the state.
Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara says 34,000 vulnerable persons have access to free healthcare under the state government’s Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHPF).
Matawalle, represented by his Deputy, Sen. Hassan Nasiha, made this known at the event organised to unveil the BHCPF by State Contributory Health Care Management Agency (ZAMCHEMA) held in Talata Mafara town, Talata Mafara Local Government area of the state“As we all know, access to affordable healthcare continues to be a challenge for most households due to the high level of poverty and the Health Insurance population coverage throughout the country has remained low.
“This challenge forced most states of the federation to domesticate the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) based on religion and traditional value systems and other peculiarities.
“I am happy to say that, the scheme is envisaged as one of the successful reforms in the health sector in the state with over 15,595 prospective enrolles in the Formal Sector Programme and 34,000 vulnerable population to be covered under the BHCPF”, Matawalle said.
He said that the scheme is part of his administration’s intervention towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by ensuring all residents of the state have access to effective, quality and affordable health care services.
“This is also part of our vision to protect families from the financial hardships of huge medical bills and ensure improvement in the healthcare throughout the State.
“Our vision is to achieve UHC for all residents of the state, no one is left behind in accessing healthcare services”, the governor added.
He commended the state ministry for health and the agency for their commitment tp the success of the scheme.
“This is a clear indication that both ministry and agency have all it takes to be a point of reference in achieving the UHC in the state”, he explained.
The commissioner for health, Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar, called on traditional rulers and Community Based Organisations to monitor the implementation of the program at facility level of their respective domains.
Abubakar said that the state government has bought drugs and other consumables to ensure free treatment of all beneficiaries under the scheme at all facilities in the state.
“There is also provision for referral for patients from Primary Health Care to Secondary up to Tertiary facilities”, the commissioner said.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary ZAMCHEMA, Dr Abdulkadir Shinkafi said all the 34,000 beneficiaries of the scheme comprised under five children, pregnant women, the aged and other categories of less privileged and vulnerable groups.
Shinkafi noted that the NHIS has accr