The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has said it received N15, 000, from the Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA) to enroll 1, 000 of its members in the newly introduced “GIFSHIP programme” of agency for the provision of access to quality health care delivery insurance.
GIFSHIP stands for Group, Individual, and Family Social Health Insurance Programme.
Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NHIS, Professor Muhammed Sambo, made this known at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding and payment for the enrollment of members of the Bar into the NHIS-GIFTSHIP programme at the NHIS headquarters in Abuja.
He said the agency has rebranded to ensure timely and easy access to health insurance to Nigerians under a well-structured arrangement that ensures professionalism in service delivery, transparency, and accountability in the nation’s health insurance scheme.
Pointing out the significance of the NBA’s commitment to the scheme, Sambo said it would serve as credibility proof to Nigerians, encourage as well as sensitise others to enroll in the programme thereby promoting a healthy population in the country.
“Your coming as a group of lawyers is testimony to the effectiveness of the programme and innovations we have developed and put in place. Your coming will make more Nigerians want to enroll because of the general view and respect people have for lawyers as members of the learned profession. It means that Nigerian lawyers have recognised NHIS as a viable organisation and have come up to partner with it.
Lawyers are a low-risk group in health insurance because they are enlightened, educated and a majority of them take care of their health. So, we believe that they are embarking on a serious preventive practice that will reduce the prevalence of diseases among them.
Giving insight on the emergence of the GIFSHIP project, Sambo said: “I came to the NHIS with a slogan of rebranding the organisation and there are three key elements of the rebranding. Number one is a system that will make the NHIS resulted-oriented and credible; two, engendering transparency and accountability in the entire operation of the insurance scheme and three, is to accelerate NHIS towards attaining universal health coverage in line with the global Sustainable Development Goals, (SDGs) agenda.“Our innovation drive is to consolidate existing programmes of the NHIS because, despite the fact that the organisation has existed for more than 20 years, I came and discover that its business plan was not clearly defined. And out of a workforce of 1400, only 47 were medical personnel. So, we had to address this personnel challenge because NHIS is a serious outfit that needs a lot of experience and expertise.
According to him, the challenges he inherited and had worked to overcome in the organisation, is now yielding result with this partnership with members of the Bar.
President of the NBA, Mr. Olumide Akpata, said health insurance is so important in ensuring the progress and wellbeing of members of the Bar because it does not only boost productivity, it has a great impact on the output, which his members give to the public in terms of service delivery.
He said the bar at its level, will encourage all its members to subscribe to the NHIS because on a daily basis, there are reports of one health challenge or the other of members and the NBA felt the best way to tackle the challenge is to enroll members in an accessible and affordable health scheme with NHIS.
According to him, tasking members for financial help when the need arises will not go a long way because that type of support usually comes in small amounts and takes a longer time to provide the needed urgent help.
“At the level of the NBA, we must encourage all members to subscribe to this scheme, not just because the NHIS need to be encouraged to do more, but because of the welfare of members who are incapacitated as a result of one illness or the other.
In an association of over 100, 000 members, your guess is as good as mine about the sustainability of the contribution approach to helping members and this is why we have decided very quickly that health insurance is the way to go.
At the end of the day, the NBA, he said, subscribe to the scheme and this will also encourage the rest of Nigerians to see that it is something worth doing and that this scheme is up and running very well.
“Personally, health insurance has helped me and has ensured that I am standing here today. I thought that if we all start in our space to sensitise Nigerians about the importance of health insurance, it will ensure a healthy population and a healthy population is what brings about productivity,” he said.