Determined to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) within set timeline through its various service platforms, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has launched its flagship initiative, the Groups, Individuals and Family Social Health Insurance Programme (GIFSHIP) in Auchi, Edo State.
The programme which was launched nationally in Abuja by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire in November last year, has become the Scheme’s main vehicle of enrollment especially in the non-formal sector of the economy.
In his address at the occasion, the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof MN Sambo stated that GIFSHIP was redesigned to extend healthcare coverage to organisations, political office holders, donor agencies, multinational corporations, philanthropists and Nigerians in diaspora in the overall efforts towards ensuring that every Nigerian has access to quality and affordable healthcare.
Sambo, who was represented by the General Manager, Formal Sector Department of the Scheme, Dr Jonathan Eke, stated that the mandate of the Scheme was to ensure financial access to quality health services for all Nigerians through social health insurance.
Sambo stressed that making sure that every Nigerian has access to quality healthcare was consistent with President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s health sector next level agenda and that it was in alignment with the sustainable development goals (SDGs) 3 and target 8.
Giving assurance that GIFSHIP is available every where in the country, Sambo stated that Auchi was the first location outside Abuja where the launching of the programme would take place, noting that the event was made possible through the support of prominent citizens of the town.
Highlighting the roles played by prominent personalities of Auchi which included His Royal Highness, the Otaru of Auchi, Alhaji Aliru Momoh who was represented at the occasion by Chief HM Momoh, in bringing GIFSHIP to their doorstep, Sambo described Dr Mustapha Lecky as “father of NHIS in Nigeria”, adding that “this event is only possible through the auspices of your able son and the Galadima Auchi”.
Speaking at the occasion, Dr Mustapha Lecky, a former Executive Secretary of NHIS, noted that GIFSHIP would provide pathway to accelerated achievement of UHC, adding that the platform is the driving force that will upscale enrollment.
He said, “GIFSHIP would provide pathway to accelerated achievement of Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria as it represented a bold, decisive strategy that is sensible for everyone, to get health insurance cover that leaves no one behind”
He called on cultural, economic and religious organisations in the area to enroll on the programme as a means of receiving access to quality and affordable healthcare.
The highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of cheque to officials of NHIS as payment of premium for the coverage of thirty persons who hail from the area.
In a related development, the member representing Dange/Shuni/Bodinga/Tureta Federal Constituency of Sokoto state, Hon. Dr Shehu Kakale Shuni has pledged to enroll 1,000 members of his constituency under GIFSHIP. He made this commitment at his residence in Sokoto when the NHIS State Coordinator led officials of the Scheme to pay him a visit.
Hon. Shuni said that the beneficiaries would be selected amongst vulnerable persons particularly almajiris and physically challenged persons, adding that a committee that would liaise with NHIS to work out the details has been constituted.
NHIS began enrollment under GIFSHIP immediately after its official launching by the Honourable Minister of Health last November.