…calls for mandatory NHIS for all Nigerians

By Chioma Obinna & Chinelo Azike

The Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, Prof. Mohammed Sambo, has called for the involvement of the States in health insurance schemes to enable speedy achievement of the Universal Health Coverage, UHC, in Nigeria.

Nigeria cannot achieve UHC without States' participation —Prof. Sambo
National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS,

Speaking at the Leaders in Health Conference at the ongoing Medic West Africa in Lagos on Thursday with the theme: ‘Laying the foundation for the provision of sustainable primary healthcare in West Africa, Sambo said unless there are appropriate integration and participation of the States, Nigeria cannot achieve Universal Health Coverage.

He said the National Health Insurance Scheme as presently constituted is not meant to achieve any milestone towards achieving universal health coverage unless Nigeria is able to ensure that States participate in the health insurance.

He said: “The magic that we will do in accelerating the Universal Health Insurance is to ensure appropriate integration of States. We have also proposed to establish Health Insurance Under One Roof.

“When we have Health Insurance Under One Roof, we will do everything together with states and we will be able to map out what segment of the population NHIS will cover at National and at the state levels,” he said.

NHIS boss also said that if Nigerians can make any milestone in achieving quality healthcare, everybody must contribute to the funding of NHIS.

He said: “If you want health insurance, you must contribute yourself or somebody contributes to you.

“So, if we’re talking about coverage of 100 to 200 million people in Nigeria, a budget for 200 million people has to be done,” Sambo said.

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He added that NHIS must be made mandatory while calling on private and public sectors to contribute to NHIS funding so that Nigeria can have a robust fund to cover the total population.

In his submission, the Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Dr. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, said the National Assembly is working hard to ensure speedy review and passage of National Health Commission so that health insurance can become mandatory in the country.

He noted that it is not all the states in Nigeria that has a State Health Insurance Scheme.

Oloriegbe said, “We want to make sure that we provide support for them to have that.”

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