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Why health insurance stakeholders adopted common framework, by NHIS

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Inspired by the unprecedented commitment demonstrated by the new leadership of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), in addition to providing purposeful leadership, stakeholders of health insurance in Nigeria have unanimously adopted a conceptual framework for the harmonisation of the industry in the country. The framework, called “Health Insurance Under One Roof (HIUOR)” was adopted at a retreat organized by NHIS for stakeholders.

Head, Media, and Public Relations, NHIS, Ayo Osinlu, told journalists that this followed exhaustive deliberations of several issues identified as bedevilling the effective delivery of health insurance services in the country, such as fragmentation, insufficient political commitment, weak legal institutional and regulatory frameworks, inadequate financing resources, poor engagement of key stakeholders, including beneficiaries, general poor awareness leading to limited acceptance of health insurance in Nigeria, as well as the absence of a robust Information Communication Technology (ICT) that allows for seamless interoperability among players.

The search for a common formula of operation in the industry became imperative in the face of mounting pressure to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the country, in line with the Health Sector Next Level Agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari. Other concerted efforts to accelerate the attainment of UHC include ongoing efforts in the National Assembly to amend the enabling law of NHIS to make health insurance mandatory in the country.

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Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof. Mohammed Nasir Sambo, told journalists at a retreat: “The initiative is a coordinating framework where all the stakeholders will come together in a synergy that enables an integration that produces quick results that will ultimately transform the nation’s health insurance landscape.”

According to him, “key stakeholders must come together in unanimity that allows for effective coordination of various existing and prospective health insurance schemes with a monitoring and evaluation strategy, and through necessary technical and administrative actions that may be required. Sambo said, the framework will provide a binding force such as ICT, which will ensure that all stakeholders are able to key in their data towards achieving a holistic approach to efforts to attain UHC.”

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In his comments, the Chairman of the Forum of CEOs of State Social Health Insurance Agencies (SSHIAs), Dr. Adeniyi Oginni, observed that the concept of Health Insurance Under One Roof becomes inevitable because of the fragmentation and disco-ordination of operations in the health insurance space, which has negatively affected issues of growth and quality in the system.

He pledged the commitment of the state health insurance agencies to this framework, as it presents the opportunities to enjoy support in areas of obvious challenges for the state agencies, such as technical capacity, funding, ICT, among others.

The retreat was attended by Chief Executives of State Health Insurance Agencies, the HealthCare Providers Association of Nigeria, and Health Managed Care Association of Nigeria (HMCAN), Organised Labour and Development Partners, including European Union (EU), World Health Organisation (WHO), Health Policy Plus (HP+) project, Results for Development (R4D), Health Systems Consult Limited (HSCL), Integrated Health Project (IHP), the United Kingdom/ U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) and Population Services International (PSI).

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