‘Why I want National Health Insurance Commission’
*Delta, PathCare win outstanding programme, best private lab service provider at Excellence Awards
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has thrown more light on why he supports the establishment of National Health Insurance Commission (NHIC) to replace the ailing National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Adewole in his reaction to The Guardian’s story on “Making health insurance work in Nigeria” said the NHIS law makes enrolment voluntary but as resolved and declared by the March 2014 Presidential Summit on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), the national social health insurance scheme should be mandatory.
“We are only fortunate to have a national scheme that we could discuss merely because the Federal Government is paying the stipulated 10 per cent of basic salary as its share of the premium for its employees while its employees have refused till date to pay their five per cent of basic salary counterpart share of the premium. So the NHIS is not even being funded according to its law,” Adewole said.
The Minister said NHIS was conceived as a Private Public Partnership (PPP) to support efficiency, accountability and sustainability. Unfortunately, he said, the Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) are under-regulated and under-supervised by the NHIS, which, instead, has been colluding with some of the HMOs to defraud the scheme and render poor quality service.
To tackle no the situation, Adewole proposed an amendment to the NHIS Act that will make the NHIS a commission and a pure regulator of the scheme. He said another body to serve as the fund custodian and 'disburser' should be established. This, the minister said, will be similar to the administrative arrangement of the contributory pension scheme.
Adewole recommended that the proposed NHIC will regulate the fund custodians, the HMOs, and the health care providers.
Also, the Delta State Contributory Health Insurance Scheme, introduced under the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has won the 2017 Outstanding State Government Healthcare Programme of the Year Award for its innovative health Insurance programme.
The award, which was presented at the concluded Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Award (NHEA) in Lagos, was in recognition of the States outstanding service delivery in the field of healthcare in Nigeria and the State Supported Health Insurance Scheme under the Delta State Contributory Health Commission, which is now in its 6th month of operation.
Also, history was made at NHEA 2017, as PathCare Laboratories, the Internationally Accredited Laboratory (ISO 15189) in Nigeria, became the winner of the Private Laboratory Service Provider of the Year category for the fourth time running. The NHEA, the “Oscars” equivalent of the Nigerian Healthcare recognition is presented by Global Health and it is the leading Nigerian Healthcare award honouring excellence, innovation and qualitative improvement in Nigeria healthcare system. Meanwhile, the Delta State Government commenced its State Supported Health Insurance Scheme on the January 1, 2017, the first State to commence such a programme in Nigeria and now has over 60,000 enrollees registered and receiving healthcare services across the State. Activities to scale up the Scheme’s portfolio are currently at an advanced stage with emphasis on the vulnerable members of the society to ensure no one is left behind. The Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Award (NHEA) is an annual event, which celebrates distinguished personalities, and organizations that have contributed immensely to the growth of the Nigeria health sector in the year under review.
Chairman of the Governing Board of the Delta State Contributory Health Commission, Dr. Isaac Akpoveta, while receiving the Award on behalf of the State, thanked the organizers for the recognition given to the great strides of the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa towards institutionalizing in Delta State, the Health Insurance Scheme he started as Chairman Senate Committee on Health at the federal level of government.
He assured that the Delta State Contributory Health Commission would ensure continuous advancement of the State Health Insurance Scheme for all residents of Delta State.
Director General/ Chief Executive Officer of the Delta State Contributory Health Commission, Dr. Ben Nkechika, expressed delight in the recognition given to the State and enjoined all Deltans to get involved in the health Scheme as the strategic roll-out activities of the scheme continues across the State.
Chairman, Board of Directors of PathCare, Prof. Ibironke Akinsete, the doyen of Nigeria’s healthcare industry, also received the 2017 NHEA Lifetime Achievements Award, in recognition of her distinguished career and passionate commitment to excellence and quality healthcare, especially in the areas of women and AIDS.
Akinsete noted that, the awards for her and the organization is more than recognition but a call for further commitment to the health care system in Nigeria.
Akinsete further revealed that, there is always a huge responsibility on you when you are spotted and call out in every sphere of life but the health care system is unique for the kind of role the health care practitioners plays in general wellbeing of human endeavor. She pledged the company’ commitment to promoting health care system through quality care and services.
The company’ continued recognition is attributed to its commitment to saving lives through accurate and reliable results, the pursuit of excellence, exceptional service delivery, technological advancement and commitment to innovation. Established in 2004, PathCare Laboratories is known for high international standards and have continued to provide clients with full spectrum of tests for healthcare, insurance, environmental analysis and agricultural screening.
The PathCare Laboratories has the distinction of being the first laboratory in West Africa to attain International Accreditation (ISO 15189). This provides the assurance of international acceptability and is an attestation to the accuracy and reliability of their results. It operates under a solid ICT (Information and Communications Technology) structure and pioneered using Electronic Medical Record (EMR) solutions in West Africa.
Winners in other categories of the 2017 NHEA include JNC International Limited who won the Innovative Healthcare Service Provider of the Year, while Eye Foundation was recognized as the Eye Care Service Provider of the Year awards respectively.