National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is a scheme established under Act 35 of 1999 by the Federal Government of Nigeria, aimed at providing easy access to healthcare for all Nigerians at an affordable cost through various prepayment systems.
Given the general poor state of the nation’s health services and the excessive dependence and pressure on Government provided health facilities, with the dwindling funding of healthcare in the face of rising cost, the Scheme is designed to facilitate fair financing of health care costs through pooling and judicious utilisation of financial risk protection and cost-burden sharing for people, against high cost of health care through institution of prepaid mechanism, prior to their falling ill.
As further expression of the vision of the new leadership of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to bring affordable and effective healthcare to all Nigerians, it has declared that N48billion will be required to implement its proposed coverage for all pupils in public primary schools in the country.
Femi Thomas, the executive secretary of the scheme, revealed this in Ado-Ekiti, during an advocacy visit to Modupe Adelabu, a professor and the deputy governor of Ekiti State.
According to him, “the advocacy visit is part of a working tour of the state, to assess the structure and progress of the scheme’s interventions in the state. Plans have reached an advanced stage to ensure that the over twenty-four million pupils nationwide receive effective healthcare as needed and the roll out of the programme is scheduled for the second quarter of this year.”
Thomas added that “40percent of the required fund for the programme has been set aside by the scheme and the balance is expected to come from benefiting states and other stakeholders. One hundred percent health coverage is achievable here in Ekiti State because the 2.8 million population could be conveniently factored into the Scheme’s programmes within the set timeline.
“I believe that given the political will demonstrated by your government in the area of healthcare delivery, it is possible for the state to be the first to achieve universal healthcare coverage in Nigeria,” he said.
Furthermore, Thomas called for the deepening of the NHIS Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)/ Maternal and Child Health (MCH) project in the State, commending the release of its counterpart fund for the programme as a sure footed step in the right direction.
In furtherance of Thomas’s decision to promote NHIS in Ekiti State, he requested a piece of land in the state capital for the development of a permanent office, observing that the Scheme was currently operating from a hired property.
In response to this, the deputy governor assured Thomas that the State government is favourably disposed to offering a piece of land to the Scheme, for the construction of its state office in Ado-Ekiti, assuring that the request would receive the governor’s speedy attention. The Scheme is targeting 1.2million school pupils in Ekiti State.
By: Kemi Ajumobi