By Odeon Odalo

The National Health Insurance Scheme is established under NHIS Act (2004) by the Federal Government of Nigeria. It is aimed at providing easy access to healthcare for all Nigerians.

NHIS mandate is to ensure financial access to quality health services for all Nigerians through health insurance.

Officials say the Scheme started by pursuing this mandate with a number of models of health insurance, culminating in the commencement of the Formal Sector programme for federal civil servants and their dependants in 2005.

Subsequently, NHIS developed other programmes which targeted different population segments with the aim of bringing them into a common pool.

Constantly faced with the difficult task of rapidly expanding coverage to accommodate all Nigerians, especially the informal sector and the vulnerable populations, a strategy to decentralize the operations of health insurance to states was agreed upon; consequently, the States have now developed their State Health Insurance Agencies.

In order to ensure that every Nigerian has access to good health care services, the National Health Insurance Scheme has developed various programmes to cover different segments of the society.

There is that for the Formal Sector such as
1.Formal Sector Social Health Insurance Programme
2. Mobile Health
3.Vital Contributors Social Health Insurance Programmes

There is that for the informal Sector such as
1.Tertiary Institution Social Health Insurance Programmes
2.Community Based Social Health Insurance Programmes
3.Public Private Partnership Social Health Insurance Programmes.

There is also that for the Vulnerable Group such as
1.Pregnant Women
2.Children Under five
3.Prison Inmates

The federal government recently also launched a group, individual, and family health insurance scheme for citizens. The scheme tagged: Group Individual and Family Social Health Insurance Programme,GIFSHIP, is to backup health care cover for Nigerians, especially those not currently captured under any form of health insurance by an employer.

It is designed to provide healthcare coverage for individuals, families, groups and communities, thereby giving them financial access to comprehensive quality healthcare at the point of need.

The Group Individual and Family Social Health Insurance Programme, known simply as “GIFSHIP”, is to rapidly expand the scope of healthcare coverage to attain Universal Health Coverage, in Nigeria.

GIFSHIP offers citizens an opportunity to participate and benefit from health insurance. There is an opportunity for affordable individual enrolment, enrolment of a family unit or a group of people and sponsored by well-meaning individuals, Trusts, or organizations.

It is hoped that will transform NHIS into a credible result-driven organization, engendering transparency and accountability in the entire operations of the Scheme, and accelerating the drive towards achieving universal access to quality healthcare for all Nigerians.

Odalo is a journalist

By Editor

Teacher, Reporter, and Blogger

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