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How Nigeria can achieve functional health insurance scheme, by Ghanaian NHIS boss

The Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) of Ghana, Mrs. Lydia Dsana-Selby has advised the Federal Government to find an innovative way to bring the informal sector into its Health Insurance Scheme.

She equally implored the FG to make it easier for children and the elderly to enroll in the scheme to achieve a Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Dsana-Selby stressed the need to look beyond what donors could bring by raising domestic resources to fund health insurance and designing a system that could work for Nigerians, putting into consideration the peculiarity of each state.

She spoke at a Health Dialogue organised by Premium Times, in collaboration with dRPC-PACFaH@Scale, Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), International Society for Media in Public Health (ISMPH), Project Pink Blue and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) in Abuja.

Dsana-Selby said: “You have enough money and the brains to do it yourself. You have very intelligent people that can design systems for the Nigerian people to grow the scheme above the present less than five per cent coverage.

“The Nigerian government is doing a lot and is on the right path, but there has to be more support from the people. Nigerians need to put health at the top of their wishes. In Ghana, the President is interested and that is because of the pressure the Ghanian people put on us. The media can put health insurance on the front burner of public discourse.”

The Ghanaian NHIS boss emphasised the need to ensure that the essence of the health insurance scheme, which was to reduce out-of-pockets spending for health services, was not defeated.

“When you delay in paying claims, they will take money from the people. So, the NHIS must pay on time. You have to monitor to stop health facilities from telling the enrollees that drugs are out of stock and make them pay out of pockets, which defeats the essence of health insurance. You have to empower the citizens to report when money is being taken from them in a wrong way and must be prepared to sanction the defaulting health facilities or HMOs,” she said.

An official of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Mr. Garba Buluma, observed that there would be 80 per cent success in the health sector if the issue of good governance were addressed.

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