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NHIS needs N3Tn to cover Nigerians, says Sambo

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NHIS

The Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Professor Mohammed Sambo, has disclosed that the scheme needs about N3trillion for Nigerians to have access to health insurance.

According to NHIS Head of Media and Public Relations, Emmanuel Ononokpono, Sambo, who made the disclosure during a courtesy call on the Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, added that with sufficient funds in the health insurance pool, the scheme would expand its benefit package to include medical conditions, such as cancer currently excluded, adding that the establishment of a Catastrophic Fund was being planned to specifically address terminal ailments.

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Giving details of efforts at expanding coverage to all segments of the society, Sambo disclosed said all processes to enroll members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) into the scheme have been finalised and coverage would be commenced with the release of funds by the government for that purpose, adding that plans to extend health insurance cover to the elderly and retirees have also reached advanced stage.

While acknowledging the challenges of drug dispensing within the health insurance system, Sambo expressed the optimism that NHIS’ collaboration with drug manufacturers, in a plan that would effect direct supplies to hospitals, would ensure affordability and availability.

Emphasising the importance of an efficient system where stakeholders observed laid down rules, the NHIS boss disclosed that the debt reconciliation exercise directed by the scheme between HMOs and HCPs yielded the paying back of N2billion to hospitals, noting that complaints from facilities about payments have dropped significantly.

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Highlighting the trajectory of NHIS, he stated that the reforms initiated under his watch had brought stability to the scheme and was rapidly steering it towards the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

He appreciated the growing public acceptability of the scheme, harping on the nexus between the scheme’s attainment of its goals and the imperatives of information dissemination by the media.

Managing Director of NAN, Mr. Buki Ponle, stated that the agency practices development journalism and had changed the narrative in reporting Africa through development issues.

He commended Sambo for the ongoing reforms towards addressing the challenges of the scheme, promising that NAN was ready to partner with NHIS in making progress towards achieving its objectives.

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