BY PATIENCE IVIE IHEJIRIKA, Abuja
The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is partnering the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on health insurance coverage for legal practitioners across the country.
This was the outcome of a courtesy visit led by the NBA President, Mr. Olumide Apata on the executive secretary NHIS, Prof. Mohammed Sambo, at the Scheme’s headquarters, Wednesday in Abuja.
In a statement signed by the Head, Media & Public Relations Division, NHIS, Emmanuel Ononokpono, the professional body and the NHIS have agreed to work out details that will lead to lawyers receiving healthcare coverage under the Scheme.
Mr. Apata expressed the confidence that the partnership between both organisations was bound to yield better quality of life for members of the association, noting that health insurance remained the best option for avoiding paying out-of-pocket for healthcare.
According to him, although the NBA already had life insurance policy whereby relations received specified sum of money at the death of members, there was the need for health insurance, to ensure good quality of life for members of the association.
Recalling a personal experience of the benefit of health insurance when he was in need of medical attention, Apata emphasised the necessity for lawyers to have health insurance due to the stressful nature of their work, adding that he had made health insurance a campaign promise.
According to him, ‘’if I did not have medical insurance, I would have paid so much for my healthcare when I was in dire need”.
Speaking against the backdrop of the significance of number as a factor for coverage of groups, he stated that the association has about 100,000 members nationwide which he considered significant to warrant healthcare coverage.
In his response, Sambo underscored the imperatives of working together, adding that partnership with the association held prospects of going beyond enrolment of lawyers to members of the association serving as opinion moulders for the scheme.
Highlighting the Scheme’s commitment to cover every Nigerian, the health insurance boss expressed optimism that steps taken by the NBA will inspire other professional bodies to consider similar initiative.
He further observed that the e-NHIS platform recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) will put the Scheme’s business processes on the cutting edge of technology when it comes on stream, adding that the scheme was in cooperation with international partners to build capacity of staff of Scheme.
To speed up the process of achieving the stated objectives of the collaboration, the Scheme has raised a committee to liaise with the legal body.