NHIS Acting Executive Secretary, Dr. Abdulrahman Sambo
Paul Obi in Abuja
With growing calls for government to reduce the burden of healthcare services on the citizens, the Federal Government Saturday in Abuja said the quest for better and improved healthcare for Nigerians will not be feasible if the law governing the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Act is not amended to make health insurance compulsory.
Speaking during the review of an awareness programme titled “Beta Body” for community health insurance, NHIS Acting Executive Secretary, Dr. Abdulrahman Sambo, cautioned that the desire to provide affordable healthcare for Nigerians will remain a mirage if certain provisions in the NHIS act are not amended to cater for the current health issues in the country. He explained that while it is important for government to provide the enabling environment for effective implementation of the scheme, government alone cannot achieve the objectives of the scheme. He stressed that “Unless the NHIS law is amended, making health insurance compulsory, we will find it difficult to implement the program, as it will not be feasible.”
Sambo, who assured that the agency is willing to facilitate full take-off of community health insurance, told the gathering that, “We feel that before that amendment, we have to get people to understand the importance of health insurance, it is then we can thoroughly address healthcare services.”
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Media and Marketing Communications Company (MMCC), Lanre Issa-Onilu, said given the specific target audience for the programme, efforts would be made to educate Nigerians on the essence of community health insurance.
Issa-Onilu maintained that the ‘Beta Body’ will run for 13 weeks and will be shown across 18 states of the federation. He added that the decision to kick-start the program in 18 states is meant to avoid duplication of services and cut cost as well. “Beta Body” created by the MMCC group is a television and radio program geared toward creating awareness among rural dwellers and building consensus with stakeholders on how best to implement community health insurance.