Universal Health Coverage: NHIS unveils “Health Insurance Under One Roof”
To accelerate the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the country, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has unveiled the concept of “Health Insurance Under One Roof”, and shared the strategy with the leadership of the State Social Health Insurance Agencies (SSHIAs) recently in Abuja.
The Executive Secretary of NHIS, Professor Mohammed Nasir Sambo presented the concept at a meeting of Chief Executives of SSHIAs, Management of the Scheme, and a cross-section of the development community, in Abuja.
While presenting the concept, the NHIS Executive Secretary said the greatest impediment to speedy attainment of universal health coverage in the country remains fragmentation of resources, policies, efforts and strategies.
According to him, fragmentation of resources and efforts will not only result in loss of time and energy, but it is in total contradiction of the most significant principle of health insurance which is pooling.
Prof. Sambo stressed the need to develop an appropriate and enabling setting, which he described as the matrix of coverage, which will be a systematic arrangement that facilitates the achievement of set objectives.
In this case, the healthcare financing expert recommends the clear definition of scopes of health insurance in Nigeria, and the determination of who covers each of the segments between NHIS and the state agencies.
He cited the examples of NHIS remaining responsible for the formal sector, while the State Health Insurance agencies took charge of the informal sector population at the grassroots, which is closer to the state government system.
He, however, explained that in the proposed arrangement, the development and deployment of ICT solutions, as well as Information, Education and Communication activities will have overarching and cross-cutting status, providing overall support services for the operational and management processes of health insurance in Nigeria.
To facilitate the finalisation of the details of this concept and receive inputs for strengthening it, the NHIS boss announced that a retreat will be held in the second week of February, to generate a framework for developing a set of conditions to produce a system for the effective operation and administration of Health Insurance Under One Roof.
Speaking at the meeting, representatives of the Forum of CEOs of SSHIAs, led by its Chairman, Dr Adeniyi Oginni applauded the NHIS boss for providing focused leadership for, not just NHIS, but the industry at large, with special attention for the peculiarities and challenges of SSHIAs.
The group expressed full subscription to the concept as a strategy that would ease the process and fast-track the attainment of UHC in Nigeria.
The Forum, therefore, expressed the enthusiastic expectations of its members from the defining retreat.
Also at the meeting were supportive representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Bank and Health Policy Plus (HP+).