By Doris Obinna
The Health and Managed Care Association of Nigeria (HMCAN), the umbrella body for all health management organisations (HMOs) in Nigeria, has urged the Federal Government to establish a National Health Fund Agency that would handle the financial management of the public sector health insurance scheme.
According to the Chairman of HMCAN, Dr. Tunde Ladele establishing the National Health Fund Agency, a separate funding agency, would enable the NHIS to operate strictly as a regulator.
Ladele at a media briefing in Lagos recently, also called on the Federal Government to make health insurance mandatory for all Nigerians.
The body however, recommended that fundamental solutions for the growth of health insurance and the attainment of universal health coverage in Nigeria be broken down into four key components as follows: Standard component: The federal government should standardize the process of recruitment and appointment of the leadership of the agency in order to test and confirm the intellectual capability and compatibility of whoever is coming to regulate the scheme. This is to ensure that a round peck is unfixed into a round hole.
Secondly, that the federal government should as a matter of urgency inaugurates the governing council of the NHIS for proper policy formulation implementation and checks and balance and to ensure that the agency work within the dictate of the law, this is known as the short term solution.
Thirdly, the Medium term solution: As suggested by all stakeholders, especially by the Health and Managed Care Association of Nigeria in 2005 the implementation of a robust in software and platform should be done by the NHIS and the HMOS for seamless co-ordination and monitoring of all necessary disbursement by the HMOS.
Lastly, that the existing law, the Act 35 of 1999 should be reviewed to change the name of NHIS to NHIC, strictly a regulation. The health insurance scheme should be mandatory for all Nigerians, which is the Long term solution.
The federal government should create a National Health Fund Agency to handle the managing of public sector health insurance scheme with other schemes like the scheme for the vulnerable groups in the country. Explain the national health bill and the federal government contribution of 2.5 percent of consolidated revenue for affordable healthcare for the invulnerable groups.
Similarly, lending his voice, Publicity Secretary, Lekan Ewenla, said that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was set up basically to set and import accreditation requirement and quality standard for the critical stakeholders who are the Health Maintenance Organisations (HMO) and health care providers. HMOs are the drivers of the health insurance scheme in Nigeria utilising the services of both public and private hospitals.
“The scheme was designed to enhance the process of accepting care and also to streamline that processes of care in Nigeria.”