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NHIA Clarifies Stance on Removal of HIV Management from PHC Scheme

NHIA Clarifies Stance on Removal of HIV Management from PHC Scheme

Oluchi Chibuzor

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) yesterday clarified the removal of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) management from primary healthcare (PHC) services obtainable for enrollees in its scheme.
It explained that the decision was because another government agency was responsible for the coordination of the activities regarding people living with the HIV/AIDS in the country.

The clarification was in response to an article earlier published in THISDAY titled: “Stakeholders Fault Removal of HIV Management from NHIA’s Primary Care Service Delivery Scheme,” on 30 November, 2022.

However, in its reaction on the removal of HIV/AIDS on the primary healthcare scheme expressed at the forum by a medical doctor, Dr. Abideen Gbolahun, which was not captured in the published report, the Deputy General Manager, NHIA Ikeja State Office, Mrs. Aisha Abubarka-Haruna, had explained at the event that it was because there was another government agency responsible for the management of HIV/AIDS in the country.

According to her, the NHIA does not provide for HIV/ AIDS treatment at primary level of care in its benefit package for obvious reasons.
She said: “This as there is another government agency –  the National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA) which is responsible for the coordination of all activities regarding the control and treatment of people living with HIV/AIDs and provision of antiretroviral therapy (ART).

“This notwithstanding, the NHIA has made provision for screening, confirmation and management of opportunistic infections, voluntary counseling and health education at secondary level and also the management of complications of HIV/AIDs at tertiary level of care.
“It is also worthy to note that there’s no cure for HIV/AIDS at the moment. However, for the management of victims, there is effective ART for people living with HIV provided by NACA.”

Meanwhile, speaking at the interactive stakeholders’ engagement meeting held in Lagos, Abubarka-Haruna, acknowledged that the forum was to enable all stakeholders address areas that were needed to increase quality access to healthcare in the country.

According to her, in the NHIA’s Group, Individual and Family Social Health Insurance Programme (GIFSHIP) scheme, it was mandatory for service providers, HMO and the NHIA to ensure that no enrollee suffers any point of contact within the process of seeking quality access to healthcare in the country.
She warned that the agency remained resolute to delist any stakeholder found to be jeopardising the federal government’s efforts to enlist all Nigerians to the net of the NHIA.

Also responding to questions from the enrollees, she said according to the NHIA’s Act, “subscribed enrollees have the right to change their primary healthcare provider once it has closed down, relocated or been delisted by the Authority.
“There is right to change your primary healthcare provider once you have been transferred to another location and right to choose an alternative primary healthcare provider for dependents if they are living in a different location.”

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