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.
Oyo State Government says it has enrolled 45,000 poor and vulnerable people under the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) in the state.
The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun, made this known at the launch of the programme on Friday at the Aafin Primary Healthcare Centre in Oyo, Atiba Local Government area.
Adeosun said that this was part of Gov. Seyi Makinde-led administration’s efforts to provide free medical services for the people.
She said the vision of the state government was to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for all residents of the state where no one was left behind in accessing healthcare.
Adeosun extolled the state government for availing the residents of the state the opportunity under the BHCPF scheme.
She enjoined the enrollees to take advantage of the opportunity under access to care scheme without paying out of pocket.
The SSG performed the symbolic distribution of BHCPF ID cards to the enrollees.
She reiterated the commitment of Makinde’s administration to achieving UHC.
Also, Dr Sola Akande, the Executive Secretary, Oyo State Health Insurance Agency, (OYSHIA), said, “Oyo State is about to witness the final push toward Universal Healthcare in Oyo State and Nigeria at large.
” Akande, said at the official flag-off ceremonies of access to care under BHCPF, that the Federal Government, through the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), has made available a total amount of N450 million in the first tranche and N264 million in the second tranche for enrollment of 37, 500 lives.
He, however, announced that through the innovation of the agency, the same amount of money would be used to enroll 45,000 residents of the state into the scheme.
The Secretary to the State Government also assured successful enrollees that they could access care without paying out-of-pocket through the ID card issued to them by the agency.
The Basic Healthcare Provision Fund’s primary objective is to help achieve Universal Health Coverage and enhance access to primary healthcare services for Oyo State citizens, especially the poor and the vulnerable, women, children under five and children in orphanages.
Present at the flag-off ceremony were the Oyomesi led by High Chief Yusuf Ayoola, the Oosorun of Oyo; the General Manager, NHIA, Lagos office, Mr Olufemi Akingbade; the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Adesoji Adeyanju; the Executive Secretary, Oyo State Primary Health Care Board, Dr Muyideen Olatunji, among others.
As the state flagged off access to care, under BHCPF, the Oyo State Health Insurance Agency have empaneled 22,018 lives into 127 PHC’s across 33 LGAs. It has also paid capitation into all of these facilities for effective healthcare service delivery to enrollees.
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.
Stakeholders on Saturday urged the Federal Government to include cancer treatment under the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to reduce death rates of victims of the disease.
They also called for special considerstion for childhood cancer care under the service.
They made the call during a 5km sensitisation walk organised by an NGO, Okapi Children Cancer Foundation, to raise awareness for children fighting cancer.
Ms Kemi Adekanye, the Chief Volunteer of the foundation, said diagnosis and treatment of cancer was expensive and not easily affordable for some, especially those in rural areas.
She added that incorporating childhood cancer treatment and care into the NHIA to reduce the burden and support parents and caregivers.
“We would like to see a situation whereby children with cancer are being considered in all the healthcare schemes, they are being supported psychologically and in all other means as well,” she said.
According to her, the foundation have over the years organised annual walk, donated money for treatment and supported children and families of those with cancer at the National Hospital and University of Abuja Teaching Hospital.
Dr Adamu Alhassan, the President, Nigerian Cancer Society, said cancer treatment in children was highly neglected and underestimated in Nigeria despite the high rate of death which could be treated and prevented, if detected early.
“You find out that most cancers are not detected early and but at the advance stage, thereby recording high mortality rate among children.
“Unlike other forms cancers, we don’t have early screening services for children’s cancers and that is the reason why there is need for early detection,” he said.
Also, Dr Uduak Effiong, a Paediatric Consultant at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, listed the various types of cancers in children, stressing the need for early detection, treatment and follow-up.
“The most common used to Burkitt lymphoma, it was the most common in the malaria zone because it is associated with the presence of malaria.
“But now in my own centre it is kidney cancer and in other centres they have cancer of the eyes, which is becoming more rampant in my centre too.
“Leukaemia is also a common type of cancer in Nigeria,” she said.
On his part, Mr Izuyon Tobi, father of an 11-year-old cancer survivor, said his daughter would have died of the disease, if not for the timely intervention and support of the foundation.
Tobi commended the foundation for its support to his primary five daughter, who is now cancer free and undergoing regular checkup to forestall any reoccurrence.
Dr Shuaibu Belgore, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, said they partnered with the organisers to show support to the children and create more awareness on the disease.
Other highlights of the event, themed “Make Childhood Cancer a National Priority”, featured aerobics and a 5km walk along Jabi-Utako axis of the FCT.
Dr Christopher Okoh, the Benue Coordinator, National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), says that 41,306 vulnerable persons have been covered by health insurance in the state.
Okoh said this on Thursday during a media parley with journalists in Makurdi.
He said that 150 beneficiaries were picked from each ward in Benue for the health insurance cover.
“The health insurance cover for the vulnerable was made possible because of the new National Health Insurance Authority Bill 2022 signed into law on May 19, 2022 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The new law which repeals the National Health Insurance Scheme Act, 2004 will ensure universal health coverage for all Nigerians“Government has set up a fund to ensure coverage of Nigerians who cannot afford to pay premiums,” Okoh said.
The state coordinator noted that the vulnerable group fund was being financed through the basic health care provision fund, health insurance levy and special intervention fund.
He added that also contributing to the fund were any investment proceeds, donations and gifts to the authority.
Okoh said that this would cover the large number of vulnerable individuals who were not able to pay health insurance premiums.
“The new law will also work in line with state governments’ health insurance schemes by empowering them (state governments) to accredit primary and secondary healthcare facilities.
“It also ensures the enrollment of Nigerians in the scheme,” he said.
Okoh also said that parts of the provisions of the new law made health insurance mandatory for all Nigerians and legal residents.
Fielding questions from journalists after his presentation, the state coordinator urged enrollees to always avail NHIA with feedbacks of their experiences with healthcare providers.
He said that there were many hospitals involved in sharp practices to cheat enrollees of their rights to health care, adding that health insurance would not work without feedbacks from enrollees.
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 .
YouthHubAfrica in collaboration with Christian Aid on Friday enrolled 200 vulnerable persons in Gwagwalada, Bwari and Waru communities into the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Health Insurance Scheme.
Mr Rotimi Olawale ,Executive Director ,YouthHubAfrica, made this known at the handing-over ceremony of cards to beneficiaries in Waru ,Abuja .
Olawale said that the project was implemented to promote Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in FCT to enable them access quality health care for a period of 12 months for free.
“Health insurance coverage is low in Nigeria and people who are covered are mostly covered by the organisations they work for .
” However , people who work in the informal sector do not have such privilege, many of them do not believe that health can be free or could have their insurance covered.
“Most of them pay out of pocket and when they cannot pay they simply do not go to the hospitals and that is where the marginalisation comes to play ,” he said.
Olawale said the idea was to partner with the FCT Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to assist indigent people access quality health care.
” Our team went to the field with a pre-designed survey, the idea was to identify people who are below a certain level of earnings or marginalised persons would benefit the most from this health insurance scheme .
” We paid on their behalf and register them under the FCT Health Insurance Scheme .
“So today’s event is to present the registration card to the beneficiaries we hope that when they get registered in this service, they will be able to access services at the different hospitals, “he said.
Prof. Mohammed Sambo, Chief Executive Officer, FCT National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) , represented by Mr Greg Azubuke ,NHIA, FCT Coordinator ,commended YouthHubAfrica for the initiative.
Sambo said that the agency attached great importance to the gesture .
He said, “Health insurance is a situation whereby you can just walk into a facility of your choice and access the best possible medical attention without paying a dime .
“That is what we are here to do by the good will of YouthHubAfrica, they have been able to register 200 people from three communities in the FCT .
“By virtue of this registration, these 200 lucky people can easily walk into a hospital of their choice and be treated for whatever ailments ailments they may and walk out without paying a kobo.
”Sambo called on other citizens of goodwill to emulate the example set by YouthHubAfrica by visiting communities and picking certain numbers of people and make them access quality and affordable healthcare in hospital of their choice.
He said the burden should not be left to government alone because it takes collaborative efforts to tackle issues and urged the beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunity.
Mr Temitope Fashola, Country Director ,Christian Aid ,represented by Dorcas Asaolu, Health and Human Development Intern, said achieving universal health coverage meant that everybody has access to needed good quality healthcare without suffering financial hardship .
Fashola said that the LGA UHC Initiative project was born in 2020 to achieve healthcare coverage for all .
“Christian Aid Nigeria has over the course of two years taken the initiative from Nasarawa to Benue and the FCT .
” This handing over of the FCT Health Insurance Scheme cards to participants is in line with the UHC goal and built on adoption model to stimulate trust.
“This is a strong affirmation that with our joint efforts, we can push our cooperation in improving access to quality ,timely and affordable health care for all.
”The District Head of Waru ,Ibrahim Sarki ,thanked YouthHubAfrica for the gesture.
He said he had been a beneficiary of health insurance scheme in the past so he understood how much the organisation would have spent to grant his community members health insurance.
” I want to show my appreciation to YouthHubAfrica that on behalf of my people we are happy ,”he said
The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) on Tuesday in Abuja said it has introduced a programme called “drug registered hitchhiking medicine supply”.
Prof. Mohammed Sambo, Director-General of NHIA, while briefing newsmen said the programme was to ensure the availability of drugs in the market and make them less expensive.
He said the National Health Bill which was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari was a critical element of the nation’s development.
President Buhari had on May 21 signed the National Health Insurance Authority Bill 2022 into law, with the new legislation repealing the National Health Insurance Scheme Act 2004. The President had during the signing said the new law makes provisions for the setting up of a trust fund.
The trust fund is to ensure the coverage of 83 million poor Nigerians who cannot afford to pay premium as recommended by the Lancet Nigeria Commission.
Sambo said the drug registered hitchhiking medicine supply condition will ensure the availability of drugs in the market.
“It will also ensure that all the drugs are permitted in health insurance company system to bring down the cost of drugs,’’ he said.
Sambo said the introduction of the branded drugs under the NHIA drug supply initiative would address the perception that drugs prescribed for enrollees by health care providers are cheap, ineffective drugs.
He said that the NHIA Act brought renewed prospects for the delivery of effective health insurance in Nigeria, fundamentally resetting the ecosystem.
According to him, with the Act, Nigerian health insurance has become mandatory.
He said the Act empowered the authority to see to it that all Nigerians and legal residents have health insurance.
“This is a complete departure from the previous law that made health insurance optional.
“The authority will co-exist with state systems and other stakeholders.
“The law provides that NHIA will promote, regulate and integrate through the ecosystem.
“It also provided for the establishment of vulnerable Group Fund and outlines sources of funding for it,’’ Sambo said.
According to him, the law imposes a telecoms tax as a source of funding.
“Currently, the most important work before us is the strategic implementation of the NHIA Act for the benefit of Nigerians,’’ he said.
The D-G said that the recent visits of a high-level mission from the World Health Organsation (WHO) were as a result of the Act. He said a team of health-financing experts came and assessed the country’s preparedness.
“At the end they were satisfied and pledged their support in relevant areas.
“The team will help the country in the area of capacity-building and technology,’’ the NHIA director-general said.
Sambo also said the NHIA was discussing with relevant authorities in finance to enable the authority achieve its objectives.
He disclosed that the authority was also doing advocacy so that people would understand the implications and benefits of health insurance.
Sambo then urged the media to assist with proper education and advocacy on health insurance.
The Country Representative of the World Health Organization (WR), Walter Kazadi Mulombo, has underlined the organization's commitment to support Nigeria in accelerating the implementation of the recently enacted Health Insurance Act. Dr. Mulombo made the commitment during a high-level meeting with the Secretary of the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, the Director General, the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Professor Mohammed Sambo and a team of the WHO Health Financing Mission.
WHO delegates in Geneva, Regional Office for Africa and Nigeria.
The first high-level WHO Health Financing Mission to Nigeria, led by Dr. Joseph Kutzin, was scheduled to provide sustainable health financing support to the country towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the health security, while carrying out targeted advocacy activities to accelerate the NHIA's operationalization.
Law that includes the Fund for Vulnerable Groups (VGF).
This is in line with WHO's goal of ensuring that all people and communities receive the quality health services they need without financial hardship.
Dr. Mulombo said President Buhari's signing of the NHIA Bill will make health insurance mandatory for all legal residents in Nigeria and expand coverage to more than 83 million poor and vulnerable people.
He expressed optimism that the government will prioritize the immediate appropriation of the Special Intervention Fund in the Law to establish the Fund for Vulnerable Groups.
“Indeed, the task of ensuring that all citizens have access to the quality health care they need without falling into poverty is a deliberate political decision to achieve the cardinal objectives of population coverage, service coverage, and financial protection.
I have no doubt that in a large federal nation like Nigeria, this milestone appropriation of the Special Intervention Fund will be achieved in fiscal year 2023,” he said.
In his remarks, Mr. Mustapha thanked WHO as Nigeria's leading development partner in health and highlighted WHO's invaluable guidance, particularly on the COVID-19 pandemic.
“WHO has shown that it is an organization that cares and attends to the health needs of people.
As for the NHIA, let me congratulate the Director General for his tenacity and determination to make this Act a reality.
I want to thank the WHO and other partners who supported the drafting of the bill.
This modest attempt has brought basic health insurance coverage to vulnerable people, and making it mandatory will go a long way in helping our people manage their income and stay in work in terms of the depressed economy we are witnessing.” The SGF also expressed the government's commitment to allocate the Special Intervention Fund (SIF) in the 2023 national budget for the establishment of the Vulnerable Groups Fund (VGF).
“No family in Nigeria has survived financially by caring for their own cancer patients.
Therefore, the health of our people is the first of our priorities despite the conflicting demands”, he stated.
During his promotional visit to the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the Minister commended the unique role WHO is playing in the health sector in Nigeria and appreciated its strong commitment and steadfastness to improve health care for all Nigerians at all times.
Earlier, the mission had visited the NHIA headquarters, where Professor Sambo said that although Nigeria has operated health insurance for the last twenty-three years with low citizen coverage because it was not mandatory, the new law has the potential to accelerate the achievement of universal health.
Coverage for all Nigerians.
The NHIA Director General added that WHO's support so far has been crucial and that the Mission is the first of its kind in the organization's history.
“I have been reliably informed that this is the first high-level mission to the National Health Insurance Scheme Authority now since its inception and I have no doubt that this commitment from the highest and best financing experts in the WHO health will produce credible results.
It cannot be denied that health is one of the critical elements of development.
With the new law and implementation modalities, the NHIA is ready to soon achieve universal health coverage for all Nigerians,” he stated.
The Mission also met with the Chairman of the Senate Health Committee, Senator Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe, the Chairman of the House Health Services Committee, the Honorable Tanko Sununu, the Director General of the Budget, Dr. Ben Akabueze , and Key Partners for Health Development in Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari signed the NHIA bill into law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in May 2022.