The Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf, has reiterated his commitment to deliver optimal health service to all Nigerians.
Yusuf said this during the NHIS management retreat in Kaduna with the theme: “Repositioning Insurance Scheme towards achieving Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria.”
He mentioned that the meeting was geared towards consensus building and support among stakeholders towards repositioning the scheme for effective service delivery.
He said the aim of the retreat was to reposition the institution to deliver health care to all Nigerians, especially to the poor and vulnerable in the society.
Yusuf said the scheme had a goal to reach the pregnant women, children under five, the disabled, unemployed and the internally displaced persons.
According to him, his mandate from the presidency is to make the scheme work for all Nigerians.
Yusuf said: “I have the law behind me, the financial muscle of the institution and the goodwill of the presidency to make things work.
“My mandate as the Executive Secretary is to be good custodian of people’s health by cleansing the institution and making it work for everybody.
“I also have the responsibility to produce an institution that all Nigerians can be proud of.”
Yusuf further decried the irregularities operated among the HMOs and ill-treatment enrollee’s encountered in receiving service at the hospitals, saying that the institution had not done well in the past.
He said the Health Maintenance Organizations and health service providers did not care for the enrollees, adding that enrollees needed to be treated better.
He added: “This institution has paid so much money to the HMOs from 2005 till date and there is nothing to show for it.
“There is no way we can achieve universal coverage if we continue to give our resources to people that do not deserve it.
“I will be the face of NHIS and the voice of the enrollees, and all that we do must be in their best interest, while their rights shall be respected and defended.”
Yusuf said the scheme would be purged of endemic corruption, inefficiency and political patronage, adding that HMOs should be accountable in returning to the pool, resources not used by them.
The NHIS boss said the scheme would develop creative measures on how to finance health care without depending totally on the Federal Government.
He added that the institution had the potential to change the lives of Nigerians.
He said the retreat would further address existing programmes on its success and failures and how to make it better.
Yusuf commended the Nigerian Labour Congress as one of the organizations that stood for the rights of citizens.
He pledged that there would be no room for any stakeholder to take undue advantage of the enrollees.
Yusuf, however, requested the full cooperation and support of the leadership of the labour movement and all Nigerian workers, to make the scheme deliver service in top quality.
Also, the Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Dr Chike Okafor, represented by Senator Mohammed Usman, noted that health care was part of the legislative agenda of the assembly.
He said the scheme was established in 2005 to improve the wellbeing of citizens in Nigeria, and to serve as a social security in providing financial security for the citizens against unforeseen ill health.
Usman added that the scheme had a mandate in ensuring that every Nigerian had access to health care services.