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NHIS coordinator tasks Lagos Govt on governance structure



The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has urged Lagos State Government to constitute a proper and effective governance structure to drive the sustainability of its health insurance scheme.

Mr Olufemi Akingbade, General Manager, South-West Zonal Coordinator of NHIS, made the plea on Wednesday at the Annual General Meeting/Scientific Conference of the Lagos Medical Guild in Lagos.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that theme of the conference was: “Lagos State Health Scheme: The Facts, The Myths.”

Akingbade said that though the state has started its health insurance scheme, it lacks a constituted governing council to effectively oversee the scheme.

He said the board would ensure effective operation within the defined scope of the law and make sure that funds meant for the scheme were judiciously implemented to drive effective healthcare delivery system.

“This board should include individuals with experience in operation of health insurance and not just politicians.

“Also, the appointment of an external auditor would be a check and balance to the operation of the scheme,” the director said.

He said the state had taken a commendable step in embarking on the scheme toward reducing the out-of-pocket spending of its citizens, and poverty rate, thus improving its health indices.

Akingbade advised the state to also evolve an effective funding mechanism, improve its IT infrastructure to tackle fraud, operational process optimisation and effective monitoring and evaluation.

According to him, implementing the strategies will enable it to deepen its health insurance penetration, and make access to affordable healthcare services a reality for more residents in Lagos.

Responding, Prof. Akin Abayomi, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, said that the state was not oblivious of the need, saying that more governing board would be constituted before the end of the year.

Abayomi said the state was putting in place different mechanisms that would enable it to provide an effective safety net to cushion the rising health cost on citizens, while providing quality healthcare services.

Besides, he restated the state’s commitment to improving the welfare of health workers, infrastructure upgrade and a lasting solution to human resources shortage issues in the health sector.

The commissioner said government understood the pressure and strain that doctors and other health workers were going through in discharging their duties daily, saying that it appreciated their sacrifices and selfless service.

He said it had mapped out a strategic master plan that would assist doctors to perform better, and reduce the incidence of brain drain in the health sector.

“I have had series of meeting with the leaders of the Medical Guild; I have told them to present all their issues, and I will escalate to the various channels to get speedy resolutions,” he said.

According to him, the government will continue to collaborate and communicate effectively with health workers to ensure a better working relationship and environment to promote quality healthcare delivery system.

Abayomi appealed to the workers to collaborate with each other and stop operating in silos, saying that their harmonisation would assist to propel the development of the health sector.

He urged them to continue to show empathy in the discharge of their duties.

Abayomi said that the state government would review emergency policy, make it unambiguous and publicise to both the public and private sector.

In his remarks, Dr Babajide Saheed, Chairman, Lagos Medical Guild, urged government to expedite actions in implementing its various plans for the workers and the sector.

Saheed restated the guild’s commitment to continue to pursue the welfare of its members, as well as integrity of the medical profession in all its engagements with the relevant authorities.

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