FG urges politicians, philanthropists to key into NHIS- GIFSHIP



The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has urged politicians, philanthropists and Nigerians in the diaspora to key into the newly inaugurated Group Individual and Family Social Health Insurance Programme (GIFSHIP) of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)

He made the call at the inauguration of GIFSHIP on Thursday in Abuja, adding that the programme would give citizens an opportunity to participate and benefit from the health insurance scheme.

According to him, GIFSHIP is a product of the lessons learnt and the experience gained from a previous programme, the Vital Contributors Social Health Insurance Programme (VCSHIP).

“This new programme addresses the challenges and barriers encountered during implementation of the VCSHIP, both by beneficiaries and operators.

“GIFSHIP eliminates known difficulties as it creates additional values by expanding and upgrading VCSHIP for better and increased reach, quality services and user experience.’’

The minister, therefore, urged politicians, philanthropists and Nigerians in the diaspora to register their families, communities, clans and members of their constituencies to enjoy the fantastic healthcare option.

“They should use the opportunity to provide quality healthcare for their loved ones and relations, thereby giving them financial access to comprehensive healthcare at the point of need.

“The larger the pool of enrolees, the stronger the insurance base,” he said.

According to him, the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund will be dedicated to the poor and vulnerable as captured in the social register.

He noted that the data, financial and claims management would be assured, with secured electronic platform set up in collaboration with NIGCOMSAT and approved by the Federal Executive Council.

“It will issue each enrolee a personal e-card that allows him or her to access medical treatment anywhere in the country, while fully assuring privacy and data protection”, the minister said, and urged stakeholders to be advocates of GIFSHIP and spread the word that Federal Ministry of Health now has an omnibus enrolment platform.

“You should spread the word that the ministry has an enrolment platform within NHIS to back up healthcare cover for Nigerians, especially those not currently captured under any form of health insurance in the country.”

The Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof. Mohammed Sambo, said GIFSHIP was introduced to enable individuals, families and groups to join the NHIS ecosystem.

He said some of the appealing features of the programme were the inbuilt mechanisms to guard against moral hazard, adverse selection, as well as allowing room for organisations to contribute toward achieving Universal Health Coverage (UCH).

He added that “it will also allow political office holders, donor agencies, multinational corporations, philanthropists and Nigerians in the diaspora to contribute their quota toward the attainment UCH.

“The GIFSHIP will leverage on the overarching e-NHIS framework which has been on the drawing board for more than a decade but recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), to be deployed in few months to come.”

The executive secretary said the programme was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s Health Sector Next Level Agenda for the attainment of UHC through mandatory health insurance.

Sambo said the programme was inaugurated as the key to unlocking the human capital of the nation for uplifting the socio-economic status of Nigerians.

“This is also in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3, Target number 8 and with this vision, the NHIS is undergoing massive reform through the Three Point Rebranding Agenda.

“The Three Point Rebranding Agenda is anchored on restoring a value system that will transform NHIS into a credible result-driven organisation.

“It will also engender transparency and accountability in the entire operations and accelerate the drive toward achieving universal access to quality healthcare for Nigerians.”

Meanwhile, Dr Eke Jonathan, the General Manager, Formal Sector Department of NHIS, said GIFSHIP was an innovative programme for other Nigerians not under the formal sector.

He explained that “over the years, the problem had been the inability to get the informal sector people to join NHIS.

“So, what we have now provided a platform for all Nigerians to enjoy the same benefit that those that are under the formal sector are enjoying.

“It is in line with expanding UHC because if you talk about social health insurance, it will only be employment-based so we are trying to expand to those who are not employed to join.’’

According to him, an enrollee as an individual will pay N45,000, but the cost allows him or her to add two extra persons, making three for the N45,000.

“If you are enrolling as a family with between four and nine people, you will pay N15,000 times the nine persons, totalling N135,000. (NAN)