The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on Monday in Abuja advised on its members to embrace the nation’s health insurance scheme, saying its benefits are enormous.
The NBA President, Mr Yakubu Maikyau, gave the advice when he led other members on a visit to the Director-General of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Prof. Mohammed Sambo.
Maikyau said the association had gone through the National Health Insurance Act (NHIA) and was encouraged with the provisions in the document.
He commended Mr Olumide Apata, the immediate past President, who began the process of initiating the health insurance scheme to members.
Maikyau said NBA had enjoyed good relationship with the agency initiated by Apata administration, adding that he is willing to sustain the collaboration for the benefit of both organisations.
“We want to align with the objectives of NHIS especially on the economic benefits of having healthcare access for all Nigerians. A healthy nation guarantee productivity.
“The NBA has perused NHIA and is delighted that health insurance is now mandatory for all Nigerians; NBA first responsibility is to ensure members well-being and healthcare right they can enjoy.
“Programme is being held to persuade lawyers to undertake in the health insurance, 1000 names have been compiled to take advantage of free health insurance cover.
“Premium will be paid for this 1000, an additional 1000 members is being planned to cover in the second year of our administration.
“NHIS can call on NBA whenever the need arises to discharge its duty, we will interrogate where necessary and have purposeful interpretation of the law.
“We will be available for training that will be conducted in NHIS so as to understand the workings of NHIA,” he said.
Maikyau also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to support the NHIA in the area of funding, noting that additional funding is needed by the agency to be able to carry out its mandate.
Responding, Sambo appreciated the visit saying that NBA is one of the most respected associations in Nigeria, and prayed for Maikyau leadership to bring more changes to the association.
He encouraged other members on the visiting team to continue to give the needed support to the NBA President in order for him to succeed.
According to him, the achievement in NHIA will not have been possible without the support of staff, and that the organisation would continue with its rebranding agenda.
He appreciated the pledge by NBA to support the agency whenever the need arose, adding that a lot of efforts was made to make the president assent to the NHIA.
Sambo also commended the desire of the NBA to step up the enrollment of lawyers for the insurance scheme, adding that such move is gladdening.
According to him, NHIA will not only engage the lawyers with training, and that they will be captured in the forthcoming summit plan to be organised by the agency.
He disclosed that NBA would be part of operational guideline for NHIA, and that it would also be part of the innovative financing committee of the organisation.
“We have established a committee on innovative financing, NBA will be part of that committee, we have gone to Rwanda, and we have seen the way they operate their innovative financing committee.
“The system has made their health insurance to be more effective, we are going to be working together until we meet our target of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) before 2030.