Nigeria: NHIs Boss Seeks to Close Gaps in Police Health Services

The Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Mohammed Sambo, has kicked off his campaign of revamping the scheme with a pledge to effectively address gaps in healthcare services to officials of the Nigerian Police Force nationwide.

Mr Sambo gave the assurance during a visit to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, at the Force Headquarters (Louis Edet House) Abuja.

The visit was his first external consultation outside the Scheme since he officially assumed office, according to a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Friday by Ayo Osinlu, the NHIS spokesperson.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mr Sambo, a professor of Health Policy and Management, was appointed as substantive head of the NHIS after his predecessor, Usman Yusuf, was sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari on June 1, following allegations of fraud and misconduct.

Partly mined from interviews with Mohammed Dogo, a former head of NHIS and workers at the scheme, this Newspaper also analysed six urgent steps Mr Sambo must take to get the scheme up and running.

In his maiden interaction with staff and management of the NHIS last week, the professor revealed his three-point agenda for the scheme which he said, would resolve the crisis which has beset the scheme since inception and restore public confidence in it.

During the visit, the Executive Secretary assured the IGP that he will ensure that immediate steps are taken to achieve bio metric registration of police officers and their families nationwide.

He promised to initiate the process of accreditation of police healthcare facilities across the country, the statement said.

Mr Sambo said the scheme under his leadership will resolve all areas of concern of the Police High Command regarding the experience of their officers under NHIS.

"He, however, explained to the IGP that the issue of exclusion of certain conditions from the Scheme's Benefit Package is a result of the high cost of treatment of those conditions, in relation to the limited pool of funds available to the Scheme," the statement highlighted.

The NHIS boss acknowledged the occupational hazards associated with the professional operations of the police and promised to ensure structural adjustments and review of the business process of the Scheme to guarantee effective healthcare service delivery to police personnel and their dependants.

These, he said, will greatly improve both access to healthcare service and the quality of service delivery, describing the Police Force as a critical national institution whose welfare must be promoted at all times in view of their significance to safety and social order in the country.

In his remark, the Inspector General, Mr Adamu, congratulated the Executive Secretary on his appointment and advised him to justify it by re-positioning the Scheme for the attainment of its lofty mandate.

At the end of the interaction, appropriate officers of NHIS and the police were directed to commence engagements that will yield the desired results of improved healthcare services to Policemen and their families across the country, according to the statement.

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