The federal government has set a 10-year target to provide full health insurance coverage to all Nigerians, going by the projections of the National Health Insurance Scheme.
“Our aim is that by the year 2030, all Nigerians would have had the opportunity to get into the social health insurance system as a principle of solidarity, as a mechanism for cross subsidization and effective healthcare financing”, the executive secretary of NHIS, Prof Mohammed Nasir Sambo, said while inspecting facilities at the Garki Hospital, Abuja.
To meet the target, the scheme is fine-tuning its policies and programmes to engender closer collaboration with healthcare providers, health maintenance organizations and sundry stakeholders.
Prof. Sambo described the problem plaguing health insurance scheme in Nigeria as “systemic” which requires a complete paradigm shift.
“What we have been doing in the last two years is to engender value re-orientation that will make the scheme credible and result-oriented organization; entrenching transparency and accountability in the entire operations of the national health insurance scheme as well as accelerate the attainment of universal coverage coming with so many initiatives,” he said.
He also expressed concern on the waiting time for the issuance of authorization codes for referral cases by health management organisations.
“We say that we wanted to reduce the waiting period to six hours and when we look at the structure available at the level of NHIS, we realize that we just made a promise that we cannot fulfill. We need to do some structural changes that will allow us to be able to adhere to the six hours,” he said.
He promised quick structural changes to decentralize the activities of National Health Insurance scheme by empowering the states with necessary human resources and infrastructure to “perform the stewardship role”.
He listed some of the changes at NHIS as restoration of quarterly payment to the HMOs by giving them a three-month capitation payment to remove delay in paying service providers; tariff for health insurance services to reflect the staggering inflation in the national economy and partnering with giant drug manufacturers to produce NHIS- branded drugs.
The medical director, Garki Hospital, Dr. Adamu Onu, identified a well-structured and efficient health insurance scheme as the pillar to providing universal health coverage for Nigerians.