Sokoto — The Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Alhaji Yusuf Usman, thursrday said the smear campaign in the media would not deter him, from fighting back against corrupt practices in the scheme.
Usman made the assertion at a public hearing on a bill for a law to provide for a Contributory Healthcare Management Scheme for all residents held in Sokoto.
According to him, his recent travails are attributed to corrupt individuals bent on destroying his career.
He stressed the need for Nigerians to disregard the misinformation in the media, saying no amount of smear campaigns would deter him from his efforts in bringing healthcare to the people.
"It is corruption that is fighting us and we will fight it back. People should not be distracted by what they hear in the media.
"In fact, when I came in as the NHIS Executive Secretary, I realised that we can help our people especially the poor to access healthcare services.
"We are working for the people in order to make sure that they get what they deserve. So we will never be deterred by the antics of corrupt interest," he averred.
The NHIS boss decried that over 90 per cent of the people are not covered in the NHIS scheme in the country.
He noted that Sokoto State has been in the forefront of promoting the contributory health scheme, saying the bill, when passed by the state House of Assembly, would ensure access to healthcare services to the citizens.
"We are really in support of this bill for contributory health scheme because Sokoto is the 13th state that will pass this bill. So, we really commend Governor Aminu Tambuwal for mobilising the people on this initiative," Usman added.
In his remarks, the Speaker of the Sokoto State House of Assembly, Hon. Salihu Maidaji, who spoke through the House Leader, Hon. Bello Garba Yabo, said the public hearing was organised to seek views and input of the public with a view to ensuring that the bill is all encompassing as regards the yearnings of the citizens before its passage.
Yabo explained that due to socio-cultural factors, the state government realised that the NHIS did not cover some major areas of healthcare services and as such decided to set up its own contributory scheme.
He said each member of the assembly would donate 10 per cent of his salary to the health contributory scheme monthly.
In his remark, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Balarabe Kakale, said the scheme would cover all ailments and would be run from primary to tertiary public health facilities in the state.
He posited that with the passage of the bill and commencement of the contributory health scheme in the state the people would no longer sell their properties and farmlands to seek medical treatment and surgery.
"With the take-off of the contributory health scheme, patients will only go to the Specialist Hospital and be treated free including patients with kidney problems, HIV, cancer, among others," he said.
He stated that the state government had already earmarked N100 million as take off fund for the contributory health scheme to provide for the poor and vulnerable in the state.
Kakale urged companies operating in the state, businesses and market associations to contribute actively to the scheme in order to achieve the desired targets.
He reiterated the commitment of the state government towards ensuring universal access to quality healthcare by all residents of the state.