NHIS Reforms In Line With Workers’ Aspirations – NLC
Endorsements have continued to come from critical stakeholders of health insurance for the outstanding reforms going on to reposition the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for optimal performance.
Another commendation came from the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, while addressing a technical meeting of stakeholders to review the NHIS Drug Price List and Service Tariff List, in Abuja.
Speaking through NLC’s Head of Occupational Health and Safety, Comrade Maureen Onyia-Ekwuazi, the NLC helmsman described the reforms initiated for a total turn-around of the Scheme by the new Executive Secretary, Professor Mohammed Nasir Sambo, as being “in line with the aspirations of Nigerian workers”.
Wabba, a former member of the Governing Council of NHIS, called for greater emphasis on public education on the operations of the Scheme, citing as specific example the case of distinction between branded and generic drugs, as both are efficacious and can be trusted, especially on doctor’s proper prescription.
The NLC President’s representative narrated her personal experiences with the use of generic drugs as prescribed under health insurance, which she described as ‘’satisfactory’’.
She also recalled that in the past NHIS had in place a forum of regular dialogue with labour, for conversations around enhancing the quality of services available to enrolees of the Scheme who are mostly Nigerian workers, expressing regret that this forum had long ceased to meet.
The comrade therefore requested the Scheme to ensure the immediate restoration of the forum, to improve the opportunities to protect and advance the rights and privileges of enrolees under the Scheme.
Also speaking at the meeting, Professor A.I. Zoaka of the Bayero University, Kano advised the Scheme to continue to be guided by evidence-based information at all stages of its current reform process, as that was the surest way to rebuild both public and stakeholder confidence in the operations of the Scheme.
Professor Zoaka, who was the head of the Review Panel at the meeting, advised that ‘’a strong emphasis be laid on putting all requirements in place for strengthening the system, noting that this was essential for the achievement of growth and results in all the areas of the industry’’.
The process of reviewing the NHIS drug price list and service tariff list is in response to demands by stakeholders to enhance the quality and delivery of service under Scheme.