The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has again recorded another milestone in its renewed efforts of providing health cover and financial risk protection for a vast majority of people in the rural communities.
This followed the recent official flag-off of the Community Based Social Health Insurance Scheme, promoted by the Emoriko Mutual Health Association in Emoriko, Olamaboro Local Government Area of Kogi State.
In his speech at the ceremony, the Executive Secretary of NHIS, Dr. ‘Femi Thomas, emphasized that the Scheme is working assiduously to address the health seeking challenges of the vulnerable groups in the society, which are those who do not have the financial ability to contribute to any pre-payment plans.
He noted that Nigeria has a very huge informal sector, as over 70 per cent of the nation’s population is caught in this bracket, which according to him, necessitates the recent convening of a presidential summit on universal health coverage in Abuja, to develop and implement strategies for ensuring that all Nigerians enjoy access to effective health care, without the constraints of physical and financial barriers.
He however warned that this can only be achieved if focus and energy are accorded coverage of the informal sector, particularly at the community level.
Thomas said this informs the determination of the Scheme to scale up community health insurance activities across the country, in tandem with the resolve of the Jonathan administration to boost human capital development, welfare of the people and economic growth of the nation.
He expressed pleasure at the rapidly increasing demand for the services of the Scheme in recent times, attributing that to new initiatives at NHIS to achieve the primary objectives of the organization.
He therefore again appealed to state and local governments to summon the required political will and embrace the formal sector programme of the Scheme, thereby building the platform for improving the quality of life of their workforce.
The NHIS scribe assured that the Scheme will be ready at all times, to provide technical and other levels of assistance to all employers who demonstrate the will and the zeal to fold their workforce into the Scheme, as well as community groups who express a desire to take advantage of the community health insurance programme of the Scheme.
Meanwhile, the Governor of Kogi State, Capt Idris Wada, has again endorsed NHIS, describing it as a transformation tool.
The Governor, who spoke at the occasion through his Special Assistant on Health Insurance, Dr. Dorcas Onumiya, charged various community associations in the state to immediately initiate the processes for the formation of mutual health groups, towards empowering members and their families in the various communities to become active players in the socio-economic affairs of their societies.
He commended the recent efforts of the Scheme to strengthen its systems for effective service delivery and rapid up-scaling of access to its services, especially by the vulnerable and the indigent.
Present at the occasion were the Chairman of Olamaboro Local Government Area of the state, Hon. Farouk Adejoh, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Emoriko Mutual Health Asdsociation, Dr. Ahmed Attah Itodo, representatives of the state ministry of health, traditional rulers, among others.