By Zayamu Hassan
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday signed the National Health Insurance Authority Bill into law, in an effort to expand health insurance coverage in the country.
It would be recalled that the National Health Insurance Authority Bill was recently passed by the National Assembly.
The new law repeals the National Health Insurance Scheme Act, Cap N42, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
While signing the new law in Abuja, President Buhari said that a Fund would be set up “to ensure coverage of 83 million poor Nigerians who cannot afford to pay premiums as recommended by the Lancet Nigeria Commission.”
He explained that: “For the large number of vulnerable individuals who are not able to pay health insurance premiums, a Vulnerable Group Fund will be set up to include a component of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund due to the Authority, Health Insurance Levy, Special Intervention Fund, and any investment proceeds, donations and gifts to the Authority.”
The president announced that the Authority will collaborate with state government Health Insurance Schemes to accredit primary and secondary health facilities and enrol Nigerians into the scheme in order to ensure the delivery of quality health care.
The new Act also enables the Authority and state governments to develop information management systems and digital records for better data collection, monitoring and quality assurance.
President Buhari, therefore charged the Health Reform Committee to work with state governments, the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Health Insurance Authority to ensure the implementation of the articles in the new Act.