By Asma’u Ahmad
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has inaugurated an 11- member governing council for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Ayo Osinlu, Head, Media and Public Relations Division, NHIS, said this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.
The council would be chaired by Dr Enyantu Ifenne, a distinguished paediatrician with an impressive track of academic, professional and public advocacy accomplishments.
Ifenne, while addressing the management of the scheme, acknowledged that the council members were familiar with the enormous challenges facing the organisation, and pledged its commitment to leading the process of resolving them.
She regretted that the scheme had been consistent in the news in recent times for unflattering reasons.
However, she promised to take full advantage of the resourcefulness and vast exposure of the members of the council to address all thorny issues within the ambit of the laws setting up the scheme.
Ifenne expressed grave concern that the primary purpose of the scheme, which was to make healthcare physically and financially available to all Nigerians, was becoming far-fetched.
Evidence of this, she said, was the unacceptably low coverage level, which must be addressed vigorously by all stakeholders.
She reminded all that every effort and activity within the operations of NHIS was the satisfaction of the enrollee and the quality of care available to him or her at the points of service.
Ifenne added that the dignity of every enrollee must be guaranteed and protected always in the health-seeking process.
The council boss further reiterated that it was important the legitimate interests of all stakeholders are respected for confidence building.
Welcoming the governing council, the Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof. Usman Yusuf, expressed confidence that the council would offer the scheme `a fresh breath of air’, by dousing tension in the system and leading the way forward.
Yusuf solicited the support and cooperation of management and staff of the scheme for the council, to facilitate their constructive interventions and leadership.
Other members of the council present at the event were Mr Lekan Ewenla, representing the Health and Managed Care Association of Nigeria, and Sen. Bassey Otu.
Others are Ms Joy Josaiah for the Nigeria Labour Congress; Messrs Samson Rufai and Nasir Adamu, representing the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation.