The Guild of Medical Directors has expressed dissatisfaction with the current situation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and called for a speedy resolution of the face off between it and the Federal Ministry of Health.
The guild called on government to decisively and speedily intervene to rectify all anomalies hindering the smooth functioning of the scheme in the country.
In a communiqué issued after its National Executive Council meeting in Abuja, President of the guild, Prof. Femi Dokun-Babalola, noted that the guild has no objection to the current structure of the scheme involving the NHIS, the Health Management Organisations (HMOs), the service providers (hospitals) and the enrollees. He added that there is however a need to fine-tune the relationship between these organisations in such a way that high quality service is delivered to the enrollees.
He noted that the primary focus of the scheme is to service the health needs of the enrollees and to improve the health indices of the country. In spite of the challenges engendered by this face off, hospitals affiliated with the Guild continue to render uninterrupted service to the enrollees, even where payments have been unduly withheld.
Dokun-Babalola observed that the guild is worried about the abysmally low coverage of the scheme in the country stressing that other African countries such as Ghana and Kenya have embraced a similar scheme and have enrolled up to 69 per cent of their populations while Nigeria has enrolled less than two per cent of its population.
He called for the introduction of mandatory enrolment by all eligible families in the country.
According to him, primary health care should be left to the primary health care centers and private hospitals, and taken away from the secondary (General hospitals) and tertiary care providers (Teaching hospitals, specialist hospitals and Federal Medical Centers) who are at the moment overwhelmed with cases that can easily be taken care of at the primary care levels and are unable to concentrate on their core assignments and to handle cases on referrals that are beyond the scope of primary health care centers.
“ A patient need not travel more than 5km from his home in order to access primary care. The enrollees need to be rightly guided as to their choice of primary care center, which should include all accredited health care institutions (public and private) within their catchment areas. There is a need to accredit more private institutions in anticipation of the increased load of enrollees.’’
The enrollees according to him need to be rightly guided as to their choice of primary care center which should include all accredited health care institutions (public and private) within their catchment areas. There is a need to accredit more private institutions in anticipation of the increased load of enrollees.
Dokun-Babalola who advocated for the implementation of the National Health Act and its domestication at the state level assured that the Guild of Medical Directors is ready to play its part in the delivery of quality health care to all Nigerians.