BY Muhammad Nasir Bello
Prof. Yusuf Usman, the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), has said that over 90 per cent of Nigerians eligible for the scheme have not been covered.
Usman said this on Thursday in Sokoto at a public hearing on a bill to provide for Contributory Health Care Management scheme organised by the state House of Assembly.
He noted that a lot need to be done to realise health for all Nigerians under the Universal Health Coverage.
The executive secretary urged the public not to be distracted by what they hear on or read in the media about his reinstatement by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Don’t be distracted by what you are hearing on the media. The real thing, it is corruption fighting us and we will fight back to keep faith with our responsibilities to Nigerians.
“We are here to work for our people and the country, and anybody who think we are doing it for ourselves or our office that person is missing the point,” he said.
Usman further said that he would not in any way be discouraged in his efforts at providing the required services to Nigerians.
He commended the Sokoto State Government effort at creating a sister agency in the state.
He assured that NHIS would support all states of the federation to create similar agencies for the benefit of citizens.
The Speaker, Sokoto state House of Assembly, Alhaji Salihu Maidaji, represented by the House Leader, Mr Garba Bello (APC-Yabo), said the event was organised to collate the input of the public.
“This is to ensure that the bill is all encompassing as regards to the yearning and aspirations of the citizens before its passage by the Assembly,” he said.
He noted that the NHIS, which did not cover some major areas of health concerns, was primarily aimed at easy access of healthcare services at affordable cost.
“In line with our legislative responsibilities, we require an objective, factual and timely information for informed decisions for the benefit of the electorate.
“Therefore, the assembly deems it fit to ensure public hearing is conducted on every bill that affects the lives of the citizens.
“The scheme will cover all residents, all sexes and ages, all ailments and will be run from primary to tertiary health facilities across the the state,” the speaker said.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Balarabe Kakale, said that the state government was concerned with passion to deliver quality healthcare services for people in the state.
He said that the bill was timely and necessary due to the health challenges and the need to provide easy access to facilities to the poor at low cost.
The commissioner disclosed that the state had earmarked N100 million for the take off of the health contributory scheme fund.