ABUJA — National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has developed a roadmap for electronic NHIS (e-NHIS) that will help to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), its Executive Secretary, Prof. Mohammed Sambo, said.
He disclosed this when he visited the Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr. Buki Ponle, on Wednesday in Abuja.
Sambo, who said that the scheme had been working toward reforming its activities, noted that part of which was the digitalisation of its system to enable more Nigerians to access quality healthcare services.
He said “before I came on board, several attempts were made to digitalise NHIS without success but within the short period of my arrival, we were able to achieve the feat.
“We have been able to develop a roadmap and we have secured the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to digitise our activities.
“We have also secured the approval of FEC to transform the entire business processes of NHIS and we are deep into the presentation of all the components of e-NHIS.
“With this transformation, we are saying that Nigerians can enroll for NHIS anywhere they are without stress in some coming months; this is a great departure from the manual process.”
In addition, he said, NHIS had developed a framework for “Health Insurance Under One Roof (HIUOR)” by bringing all the state actors and stakeholders together for effective coordination.
The executive secretary, however, solicited the support of NAN in the area of information dissemination on health insurance benefits to Nigerians.
He also solicited NAN support on the reform agenda of the scheme, saying “we have been trying to meet with NAN but we could not because of COVID-19.
“But since we are beginning to live with COVID-19, we felt it is important to quickly meet up with the obligation for this visit to inform the agency about the activities and transformation going on in NHIS.
“This is because we know that NAN is one of the most organised and reputable media organisations in the country in charge of information, education, and communication to the society.”
Sambo added that NHIS activities were in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s next-level agenda, hence the need to solicit media support to help achieve the goal.
He said that the President’s agenda of attaining health insurance for all Nigerians was in line with the global declaration for UHC as contained in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
UHC means that all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. It includes the full spectrum of essential, quality health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care.
According to him, there is no way NHIS can achieve its mandate of making health insurance available for all without working with media, especially NAN in the area of information dissemination and educating the people.
Responding, Ponle said that NAN was established in 1976 but went into operations in 1978 to ensure adequate and responsible journalism, noting that “ever since then, we have been on the rise.
“We started as a text message agency but today, we can compete favourably with other agencies globally; there is nothing they do we cannot do, even doing better; I am proud to say this.”
He, therefore, expressed the readiness of the agency to partner with the scheme by reporting and educating Nigerians about its activities and the reform agenda for effective visibility.
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