The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has urged the National Health Insurance Scheme and healthcare providers to be globally competitive in delivering healthcare services to Nigerians.
Ehanire made the call at a two-day NHIS Strategic Engagement with Enrolees and Healthcare Providers in Abuja on Thursday.
He said that Nigeria was in a global competition in development, industrialisation and other sector,s including healthcare and such should join other nations to ensure effective healthcare services for the people.
He said: “There is a challenge before us all and that is to realise that we have a target to be globally competitive in delivery of healthcare.”
Ehanire who described the meeting as significant, said the new management was bringing together healthcare providers, enrolees and the NHIS management to ensure effective service.
He said the intention of the meeting was to reform the NHIS and showcase a new scheme capable of delivering on its mandate.
The minister further said that the scheme was a cardinal point of Nigeria’s healthcare landscape because it provided the anchorage for government’s funding of healthcare delivery.
According to the minister, government is aware of the leadership challenges that bedeviled the scheme as well as the obvious consequences on effective operations.
He said: “The scheme is far behind in growth, now there is an urgent need not just to sanitise it but also to expand its scope so that the organisation can carry out its functions as it intends.
“The healthcare providers must be determined to get NHIS right in order to drive all national and international obligations as well as President Buhari’s agenda for Universal Healthcare Coverage for citizens.
“We acknowledge that enrolees are the kings in this social security programme and we recognise that they deserve our commitment for a better quality of service.”
Prof. Mohammed Sambo, Executive Secretary, NHIS, said the meeting with healthcare providers was to get first-hand information on the scheme to aid the government in making informed decisions in moving the scheme forward.
Sambo said that qualitative healthcare services, through NHIS, was one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s priority programmes which aligned with global agenda for achieving universal health coverage.
He said: “The NHIS has been involved in a lot of crisis but I am glad to inform you that, the scheme is stable, reforms are on-going and a picture of a new NHIS is becoming brighter.
“I urge you to keep faith with the new management under my stewardship; I assure you all of my profound commitment to provide a new NHIS going forward.”
Dr Jeff Momoh, Chief Medical Director, National Hospital Abuja, said the forum would give opportunity to stakeholders to brainstorm on issues troubling the scheme and find lasting solutions to them.
Momoh said it was also important for NHIS to focus on issues concerning prompt payment of bills, capitation, current tariffs and other issues needed for better service delivery.