Implementation of NHIS in Kano suffers poor publicity
AKTH Has Highest Number Of Enrollees As Govt Initiates NHIS Law
Lack of awareness has been identified, as one of the major challenges confronting the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), in Kano State.An official of the Scheme at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH), Kano, Abubakar M. Yakasai, told The Guardian that the scheme is a collaborative project between the Federal and State Governments.
“Federal Government is doing its best by involving its workers to be part of the Scheme, but state governments are not helping matters at all,” he stated.Yakasai said there were still some form of resistance from public workers about the scheme, which is another reason the Scheme remains frustrated.
“As a matter of fact, governments are not up and doing in creating all necessary awareness among workers and the general populace. You should understand that a programme like this needs sustained media campaign and communication strategy, “ Yakasai said.
He therefore called on the Federal Government to ensure that the programme covers the private sector.Yakasai suggested the need for government to evolve other mechanisms that could force people to participate in the scheme, stressing that, “Many at times people don’t comply with new policies just like that, without them being forced to.”
According to him, AKTH has the highest number of enrollees to the programme. “We have about 38,000 enrollees for NHIS; the highest NHIS running organisation in the country. For your information, what largely informs this among other things, is the kind of services we render, the environmental-friendly nature of our organisation. “
Yakasai added, “Sometimes we give to people what is not even included in the Scheme. For example, in terms of drugs we give to our enrollees. This also has contributed immensely in the highest number we recorded.”
He argued, “Let government makes the scheme to be semi-independent body, so that we can achieve much. We can then use what we get to pay our staff and other expenses. Instead of waiting for our hospitals to cater for our needs from the limited resources they have.”
He also observed another angle to the debate, “What I think is another cause for the slow pace of the scheme, especially in the Northern part of the country, is this issue of insurance, which many Muslims have reservation about.”
“You know in Islam, this issue of insurance has many interpretations. So I think many people are not eager to get closer to what is identified as insurance. What Kano State government has done was finding another way, an Islamic way where this and similar insurance can be adopted by Muslim faithful. That is why the state achieved such feat,” he noted.
To strengthen the Scheme, Kano State Government has forwarded an executive bill to the State House of Assembly with a view to coming up with an NHIS Law for the State.
Sama’ila Garba Gwammaja, who is the Public Relations Officer of the state ministry of health revealed that, the Bill has passed the second reading at the State Assembly.
“What has been the major problem of the scheme at the federal and state levels is lack of awareness from the part of the public, on the advantages one can derive from the scheme. This is one of the major aspects Kano State government has total commitment on before we reach this stage,” Gwammaja highlighted.
According to him, Kano government had worked tirelessly in putting workers closer to understanding the scheme, its benefits, advantages and how people can achieve appreciable level of effective and efficient healthcare delivery system.