The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is developing a ”Health Insurance Under One Roof”, to reduce bottlenecks in service delivery.
Health Insurance under one Roof is an initiative aimed at ensuring that health insurance operates under one system with proper coordination and unified data.
Sambo said made this known during a three-day Strategic Retreat of NHIS, State Social Health Insurance Schemes (SSHIS) and other key stakeholders in Goshen City, Nasarawa State.
The Executive Secretary said the initiative became necessary due to lack of coordination, fragmentation and operational disunity existing in health insurance industry.
According to him, the initiative will specify areas of coverage for SSHIS and other stakeholders in the sector.
He said that NHIS law was going through review to make health insurance mandatory for those that have not been covered by the scheme.
“We are looking at some innovative financing to cover the vulnerable group and we are going to determine who to cover the group,’’
The Executive Secretary, however, solicited the support of the Nigeria Labour Congress to achieve the mandate of providing health insurance for Nigerians to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
In his remarks, President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba said the issue of health insurance could not be completed without the contribution of NLC.
The president said the congress was personate about it and would do everything possible to support the NHIS in his mandate of achieving UHC.
“Health is a fundamental human right and it is a key index in measuring development so we will continue to partner with you to ensure that the scheme succeeds,’’ he said.
Wabba a former member of the Governing Council of NHIS, while addressing newsmen, called for increased funding into NHIS to address most of the health challenges in the country.
He said increased funding in the scheme would address the issue of medical tourism and emerging diseases.
“It is good idea to have a specific tax that will be able to make fund available and that is the reason why I am supporting luxury or telecom tax to increase funding for the scheme.
“Achieving UHC should be a priority of every government because health of our citizens is central to every aspect of development.
“It is important to have increased funding for the scheme so that every Nigeria, including the vulnerable group will have access to health insurance,’’ he said.
He, however, expressed trust in the new leadership of NHIS saying:“ now we are making some progress , we have transparency and accountability in the scheme.
“There is also direction and impetus in the reforms agenda carried out by the new management of the scheme,’’ he said.
Nigeria News Agency reports that the retreat which started on Tuesday and will end on Thursday.
Participants are discussing ways of re-positioning the scheme towards attainment of UHC, health insurance in Nigeria: the journey so far, among others.
The theme of the retreat is Health Insurance under One Roof as coordinating mechanism for achieving UHC.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
Narrating her wife’s experience with cancer of the breast, Olaleye Kolawole, father of three, said on Dec. 20, 2016, Oluwatoyin was diagnosed with cancer of the breast, after a biopsy. Kolawole said that he resorted to treating cancer with natural herbs. He added that an average patient is not usually well informed about cancer because of scanty information. “We have heard of the terrible side effects of chemotherapy and as such, we made our innocent move by contacting a naturopath who assured us total recovery and clean bill of health.’’ Kolawole said: “My wife was dying and she will not hear of chemotherapy, I was equally mentally broken, but I needed to manage the whole scenario politically.’’ However, kolawole revealed that early 2018, the tumour metastasized, which compelled him to return his wife to the hospital. He said that Dr Samuel Olatoke, a consultant at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital advised on radiotherapy, which result, later helped to salvage the situation after heavy expenses to cure the cancer. Observers say many people are unaware that cancer is becoming alarming and one of the leading cause of death globally. In 2018, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cancer accounted for an estimated 9.6 million deaths. This according to WHO, is despite the fact that 30 per cent to 50 per cent of cancers are preventable, and another 30 per cent of the death avoidable, if detected and treated early. Dr Francis Faduyile, the President of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), stressed the need for early cancer diagnosis. He also suggested putting in place a National Policy on Cancer. Faduyile said this would make diagnosis of cancer very easy, stressing that most cancer problem in the country stemmed from late diagnosis. According to him, cancer treatment is very expensive and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) should include it in the scheme to help cushion the effect of the cost. Faduyile said that without appropriate interventions, it was projected that new cases of cancer would increase steadily to an estimated 19.3 million new cases in 2025; this he said must not be allowed to continue He reiterated the importance of having a clear policy on cancer care in the country, noting that there should be implementation of the National Cancer Control Plan 2018-2020 and effective funding of cancer care and research. The NMA president listed steps to take to prevent cancer, adding that it was imperative to encourage cancer prevention and build structure for prompt diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Mr Yusuf Tanko Sununu, Chairman House Committee on Healthcare Services, while expressing worry over the devastating effect of cancer in the country, said he lost his father to the dreaded disease. “I know how expensive it is and this is a disease that need serious attention and stakeholders must join hands to find a lasting solution to stop cancer in Nigeria,’’ he said. Sununu said that he knew how painful it could be to lose loved one to the scourge of cancer, stating that a comprehensive approach to cancer prevention, screening and treatment in the country must be in place. The lawmaker stated that there was need for the inclusion of cancer care in the NHIS, because the scourge remained a serious challenge in the country He said that the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC) across the country must also benefit from cancer treatment in order to take care of the people at the grassroots. Sununu also called for the strengthening of the primary method of prevention, stressing that the House Committee on Healthcare Services would partner the Senate Committee to fashion out a bill that would help cancer patients in the country. He said that the move would help to reduce the burden of cancer treatment in the country, noting that stakeholders in the health sector should contribute to ensure the success of the bill. Dr Bello Mohammed, the President, African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC), said that the vision of the group is to have a Nigeria with universal health coverage that would include the treatment of cancer. He reinstated the need to move the cancer agenda forward, adding that the plight of cancer patients was becoming very bitter, and it would be difficult to have proper cancer coverage without an enabling law. Mohammed stressed the imperative of diagnosis, which according to him, is key in addressing the scourge of cancer, adding that in Nigeria, there is no molecular diagnosis centre, while Egypt has seven. Mohammed called for immediate unbundling of all bureaucratic bottlenecks that frustrate the effort of private individual and participants that craved to invest in such area, nothing that it does not augur well for the country. Dr Sunday Omoya, the Chairman, NMA National Committee on Cancer, said it was time to build strong alliance among stakeholders that would work to build strong partnership to address the scourge of cancer. He said that it was necessary to have a coordinated fight against cancer to ensure impactful result. According to him, NMA will continue to partner all relevant stakeholders in the fight against the cancer scourge. (NANFeatures) **If used, please credit the writer as well as Nigeria News Agency
Traders at the Midwifery Market in Oshimili North Local Government Area of the Delta have commended Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration over the free healthcare initiative for indigenes.
They gave the commendation at the market during the capturing of the traders into the State Contributory Healthcare Scheme by the Identifiable Group Taxation (IGT) team on Thursday in Asaba.
The Chairman of the Market, Chief Dim Uchenna, said he was not surprised at the kind gesture of the state government, describing Okowa as ”a passionate people-oriented personality”.
He said that the governor was one of those at the forefront during the discussions for the initiation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) as a federal lawmaker.
“I was certain that he would replicate same in the state,” he said.
Uchenna said that the traders would keep their part of the bargain by paying their taxes.
“For any government to actualise its aims and objectives, its citizenry must be ready to contribute its quota, especially in the area of meeting tax liabilities as a civic responsibility,” he said.
The Vice Chairman of the market, Mrs Florence Awolor, expressed hope that the scheme would be sustained.
She appealed that provision should be made for the inclusion of extended family members.
Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Grace Yussuf
The Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Mohammed Sambo says plans are underway to establish a National Catastrophe Fund to expand benefit packages for cancer patients.
Sambo, made this known at an event to mark the World Cancer Day celebration organised by an NGO, Medicaid Cancer Foundation in Abuja on Wednesday.
According to him, the agency was trying to expand innovative finances through the establishment of the National Catastrophe Funds, which would contribute immensely to the treatment of cancer.
“We have looked at benefit package in NHIS, we have provision for some level of drugs we have for cancer treatment and the benefit package and even radiotherapy one cost of the radiotherapy package is included in the benefit package for NHIS.
“And we are trying to expand it through innovative finances which has to do with establishing National Catastrophe funds that will allow contribution for the treatment of cancer because the funding from the NHIS will not be sufficient to cover all the cases of cancer among our enrollees,’’ he said.
The NHIS boss said that even though, the catastrophe funds was yet to commence, the agency would ensure that it is properly monitored and evaluated to ensure that the aim is ultimately achieved.
Mrs Zainab Bagudu, the founder of Medicaid Cancer Foundation and wife of the Kebbi state governor, stressed the need for people to engage in self-examination, cancer screening for early detection of cancer.
Bagudu reaffirmed the commitment of the foundation towards assisting cancer patients and survivors with the care and treatment.
She, further commended government for providing radiotherapy machine in some centres, which had reduced the need for people to travel outside the country to seek the medical services.
Also, Dr Kamaludeen Jimoh, a radiologist at the National Hospital, Abuja encouraged cancer patients to have hope and not relent in accessing care and treatment.
Jimoh, also encouraged them to engage in the support group for cancer survivors to enable them interact more with other patients, experts and support system.
Nigeria News Agency reports that cash and gift items were donated to some cancer patients and survivors at the event.
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body which develops when the body’s normal control mechanism stops working.
It is a situation where old cells refuse to die, and instead, grow out of control, forming new, abnormal cells and the extra cells may form a mass of tissue called tumour.
World Cancer Day is an international day marked on Feb. 4, to raise awarenss of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection and treatment.
Edited By: Shittu Obassa/Ekemini Ladejobi
The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), has urged the National Assembly (NASS), to enact a law on the formulation of policies on cancer to help curb spread of the scourge in Nigeria.
Dr Francis Faduyile, the President of NMA, said this during an advocacy visit to the Chairman, House Committee on Healthcare Services, Hon. Yusuf Sununu, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Faduyile pleaded with the national assembly to pursue a bill that would create a policy that would help patients suffering from the disease and also drive sensitisation on preventive measures.
He said that the policy was expected to give patients the right to diagnosis and access to treatment in the National Health Act.
The NMA president said that cancer had continued to ravage Nigerians because they lacked access to early diagnosis and treatment.
He further urged the lawmakers to help in the inclusion of cancer treatment in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), noting that cancer care remained the most expensive in the country.
He, however, lauded the National Assembly for initiating a bill on health service delivery, stating that the current legislators had so many great bills on healthcare to their credit.
Responding, Sununu, noted that the concerns raised by the NMA leadership on cancer were genuine, assuring the association that the current NASS would tackle all the issues through the enactment of appropriate laws.
The chairman, who recalled how he lost his father to the dreaded disease, said: “I know how extensive it is and it is something that needs serious attention.”
He called on stakeholders to come up with suggestions on how to help tackle the scourge, noting that preventive measures remained the most effective in curbing the menace.
Sununu disclosed that a bill for the registration of a cancer care centre in the country, had already been presented in the House, and called on NMA to partner with NASS to ensure the success of the bill.
The News agency of Nigeria , reports that today is World Cancer Day with the theme; “I am and I will for cancer Day”.
Edited By: Nyisom Fiyigon Dore
The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has urged the National Assembly (NASS) to enact a
law that will curb the spread of cancer in the country.
The President of the association, Dr Francis Faduyile, made the call during an advocacy visit to Hon. Yusuf Sununu,
the Chairman, House Committee on Healthcare Services in Abuja on Tuesday.
The visit was in commemoration of the 2020 World Cancer Day with the theme “I am and I will for cancer day”.
He pleaded with the national assembly to pursue a bill that would allow men and women affected by cancer to enjoy some benefits.
He said that the national policy would avail cancer patients treatment in the National Health Act, adding that it would also help in ensuring modern diagnosis of cancer.
The NMA president said that most of the cancer problems in the country were as a result of late diagnosis, noting, however,
that most viable equipment for diagnosis were not available in the country.
He called on the NASS to include cancer treatment in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), stating that cancer care remained expensive in the country.
He, however, lauded the national assembly for initiating the bill on health service delivery, saying
that the current NASS had so many great bills on health service delivery to its credit.
Sanunu noted that the concern raised by the NMA leadership on cancer was genuine, stressing that NASS would confront the challenges through appropriate laws.
Going down memory lane, Sanunu said he was a victim of cancer as he lost his father to the dreaded disease.
He said “I know how extensive it is and it is something that needs serious attention.”
He called on stakeholders to come up with solutions that would help to tackle the scourge, noting that preventive measures would help to
address the menace.
He said that a bill had been presented for the registration of cancer care centre in the country and urged NMA to partner with NASS to ensure
the passage of the bill.
Edited By: Moses Solanke/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu
Abuja, Feb. 2, Mrs Abieyuwa Abel, a Social Anthropologist, has called for urgent action in the implementation of the National Health Act (NHA 2014), to accelerate Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria.
Abel made the call in an interview with Nigeria News Agency , on Sunday in Abuja.
NAN reports that the NHA 2014, which was signed into law on October 31, 2014, provides a legal framework for the regulation, development, and management of Nigeria’s Health System.
First proposed in 2004, the legal framework for health in Nigeria took close to a decade before it was eventually signed into law in 2014.
The social anthropologist said that the NHA provides a legal framework for the regulation, development, and management of a National Health System, and sets standards for rendering health and related services to Nigerians.
“Each part contains fundamental provisions, which, if effectively and efficiently implemented, would have a tremendous impact on healthcare access and UHC.
“The seven parts of the NHA are Responsibility for health and eligibility for health services and establishment of National Health System, Health Establishments and Technologies, and Rights and Obligations of Users and Healthcare Personnel.
“Others are National Health Research and Information System, Human Resources for Health, Control of Use of Blood, Blood Products, Tissue and Gametes in Humans, Regulations and Miscellaneous Provisions,”she said.
Abel explained that health professionals form a significant component of any healthcare systems and were important in the delivery of smooth, efficient, effective and quality health care services.
According to her, since the goal of the NHA is the regulation, development, management, and advancement of the National Health System, the role of health professionals in the actualisation of this goal is very important.
She noted that health professionals’ awareness, knowledge, and perception of the NHA would influence the degree of success in implementation of the Act.a
She said the process would propel the realisation of the ultimate benefits of the Act by improving health coverage, quality, and health outcomes.
The social anthropologist said that the NHA was a viable framework, the implementation of which could help the country and Nigerians to achieve UHC.
“This act sets the background to earmark adequate public resources to health towards strengthening primary health care through the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund.
“50 per cent of the fund will be managed by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), to ensure access to a minimum package of health services for all Nigerians.
“45 per cent by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCA), for primary health-care facility upgrade and maintenance, provision of essential drugs; and deployment of human resources to primary health-care facilities.
“The Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) will manage the remaining five per cent for national health emergency and response to epidemics.
“Counterpart funding from state and local governments is at the core of the National Health Act implementation,” she said.
According to her, resource mobilisation and accountability are key factors for successful implementation of the Act.
“Although there is substantial evidence that public financing is key to the achievement of UHC, government expenditure on health has been very low in the country and domestic resource mobilisation is weak,”she said.
Abel advised the federal government to explore innovative domestic financing despite attendant fiscal constraints.
She observed that tax avoidance and inefficient tax collection were the major roadblocks that government should tackle to improve domestic revenue generation.
She noted that sufficient funds could be obtained through “sin tax” on products that pose risk to health, such as tobacco and alcohol, progressive levies on phone calls or mobile phone purchases, and taxes on air tickets, foreign exchange transactions, and luxury goods.”
Abel said that the government could generate substantial fiscal capacity to fund national health reforms by cutting the country’s enormous budget for fuel subsidies.
“The federal government can also “assert vision and control” to mobilise and align resources from domestic and external sources, and ensure efficient use of such resources to increase access to high-quality health care for Nigerians.
“The government should operationalise the 2001 Abuja declaration by allocating at least 15 per cent of its budget to health.
“With all of these in place government can demonstrate its political will to achieve the 2014 Presidential Summit Declaration on UHC and secure the crucial public support needed for other reforms,” she advised.
She also advised government to make health insurance compulsory by facilitating the amendment of the 1999 NHIS, Act 35.
Abel noted that with full implementation of NHIS, the 36 states of the federation and FCT should create their health insurance agencies with guidance from the NHIS and implement innovative ways to capture the formal and informal sectors.
According to her, UHC is a political choice which requires vision, courage, and long-term thinking.
She described it as the best investment for a safer, fairer and healthier Nigeria that is needed for people’s health and sustainable development.
“49 of the 50 most developed nations in the world have universal health care.
“The one nation where it is not yet a reality is the one we are living in, but it can be a reality here if our government keepd to its promises.
Edited By: Shuaib Sadiq/Sadiya Hamza
Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older People in Nigeria (COSROPIN) is advocating for
compulsory health insurance coverage for older people to guarantee healthy and longer lives for the seniors citizens.
Ms May Ikokwu, the Secretary General of the coalition, told Nigeria News Agency on Wednesday in Abuja that
health insurance would tackle most of the problems bedevilling senior citizens in Nigeria.
She said that as part of the coalition’s advocacy, it would continue work in ensuring that older persons were adequately covered by insurance.
Ikokwu said an insurance cover would engender general access to healthcare with discount provided for drugs.
Indigent older people, especially those in rural areas, have no access to National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu
Kaduna State Government has vowed to sanction any
Primary Health Care centres (PHCs) sabotaging the State Contributory Health Scheme.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Amina Baloni, stated this at a one-day workshop on the Kaduna State Contributory Health
Scheme organised for Health Care providers held in Kafanchan on Tuesday.
The commissioner, who was represented by Dr Jonathan Gajere, the Deputy Director, Hospital Services in the state’s Ministry of Health,
challenged the PHCs which had yet to offer 24 hours services, to brace up and work out modalities for the task ahead.
He said “the scheme, which is a replica of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), will automatically capture all civil servants
in the state and private individuals interested to join.
“To this end, all hands must be on deck to ensure that the scheme thrives.
“The state government would therefore not entertain any form of sabotage.”
In a goodwill message, Mr Jona Akau, who represented the Executive Secretary, Kaduna State Health Care Development Agency,
tasked participants to put in their best during the training to scale up at their various facilities.
He said “the training would no doubt, equip participants with the prerequisite knowledge needed to make the programme a success.
“I urge participants to leverage on the opportunity provided to move the health sector in the state to its desired height.”
Aliyu Saidu, the Director General, Kaduna State Contributory Health Management Authority (KADCHMA), said that
the body saddled with the responsibility of enrolling beneficiaries, organised the workshop to acquaint participants on the operationalisation
of the scheme and also to train them on their roles and responsibilities.
The director general, represented by the Head of Planning of KADCHMA, Mr Gideon Yakubu, said that the programme was holding
simultaneously across the three senatorial zones of the state.
He added that “the essence of creating the scheme by the state government two years ago was to ensure quality, affordable and equitable healthcare
services to residents of the state without financial barriers in an effort to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).”
Mary Sako, a participant, applauded the organisers of the training, describing it as a step in the right direction.
She said that the training afforded the stakeholders in the health sector the opportunity to learn more on global best practices.
Nigeria News Agency reports that participants who were drawn from about 68 PHCs across the eight local
government areas of Southern Kaduna, were also trained on how to use the guidelines of the scheme to ensure its success.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu
Religious leaders have been called upon to use their congregational platforms in promoting Universal Heath Coverage (UHC).
Mr Anthony Egwu, the Executive Secretary, Benue Health Insurance Agency (BHIA), made the call at a one day “Faith and Health Retreat” organised by Nigeria Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by (NINERELA+) in partnership with Christian Aid UK, Nigeria on Monday in Makurdi.
The retreat has “Exploring Opportunities in Faith Community for Promoting Universal Health Coverage through Religious Leaders’ led Advocacies and Interventions” as its theme.
Egwu described the retreat as peer review forum for leaderships of various faith structures where best practices were shared.
He urged participants to use the opportunity to sensitise faith community health insurance within the provisions of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the State Health Insurance Scheme.
He also emphasised the importance of partnerships between faith actors, the government and development partners in mitigating gaps in access to quality health, particularly for vulnerable groups and informal sectors left behind.
The executive secretary acknowledged that congregations could organise themselves to access opportunities in community health insurance packages in the health insurance system, particularly in Benue.
Ms Amber Erinmwinhethe, the National Coordinator of NINERELA+, explained that the group and Christian Aid UK, Nigeria, was ready to ensure that congregations were strengthened to address some health and social justice issues.
According to her, the organisation engages faith communities to pursue transformational roles in key development areas because such communities are closer to the people and can feel their pains more.
Mr Ikenna Nwakanma, the Programme Manager of NINERELA+, reiterated the commitment of the organisation to continually advocate that religious leaders act and amplify the voices of the community against the vulnerabilities, injustices and inequalities.
Nwakanma urged the retreat participants to rise against the challenge of inhuman activities.
According to him, if every congregation commits to providing health coverage for just 20 indigent persons, Universal Health Coverage will be achieved by 2030.
Edited By: Zainab Garba/ Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu