If Nigeria is able to implement all the programmes set out in its ten-year strategic plan in the health sector, the country will be able to achieve the goals of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by year 2030, the Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Mohammed Sambo, has said.
The Executive Secretary of NHIS, Mohammed Sambo expressed this optimism in Kaduna, at a two-day management retreat to adopt the ten-year strategic plan document.
Sambo said the careful implementation of the roadmap would ultimately bring the country at par with other contemporary nations where out-of-pocket expenditure for health has already been eliminated.
He explained that the strategic plan document sets out in elaborate terms the roles of all interest groups in the sector, outlines the activities and timelines as well as cost implications of all initiatives within the ten-year period, adding that going forward all efforts would be brought to align with the strategic plan.
Expressing delight at the development, the health policy expert said a strategic plan was the foundation of success of any organization or people, adding that the corporate objectives of all stakeholders under a decentralized health insurance system was captured in the document.
Allaying fears by a section of Nigerians about sources of funding for the plan, the health insurance agency boss said the projected N3trillion required annually for the coverage of all Nigerians was to be raised from various non-government sources, including individuals.
He maintained that Group Individual and Family Social Health Insurance Programme (GIFSHIP), the NHIS flagship programme was designed in consideration of that objective.
Addressing concerns that Nigerians in rural communities may be left behind, Sambo assured that the on-going installation of equipment for e-NHIS in all the Scheme’s state offices nationwide would link up with state health insurance systems, as provided for in the strategic plan.
This, he said, would ensure inclusiveness for Nigerians in the rural communities, adding that when fully operational health insurance services would only be a telephone call away.
Persons residing in rural communities with a telephone, he said, would be able to use the gadget for purposes of registration, enrolment, selection of healthcare providers and other relevant operations.
He said the approval by the Executive Council of the Federation (FEC) of the e-NHIS Project was a significant milestone in the drive towards the attainment of universal health coverage.
The 10-year strategic plan document was developed by the planning department of the Scheme in collaboration with development partners over the course of one year.
Meanwhile, Sambo has stressed the need for a review of the National Health Act 2014, to accommodate what he described as “gaps in implementation”.
Sambo was addressing members of the National Assembly at a 3-day retreat on amendments of the legislation at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja under the theme “Resolving the Bottlenecks Around Effective Implementation of the National Health Act (NHA)”.
He highlighted the gaps in the National Health Act as lack of a governance structure to drive its implementation, absence of a concerted effort to create awareness, absence of clear delineation of roles and responsibilities and lack of enforcement of its various provisions by relevant institutions.
He therefore, amongst other suggestions, recommended the constitution of a multi-disciplinary steering committee to drive the implementation of the act.
The three-day retreat was held under the auspices of the House of Representatives Committee on Healthcare Services.