Friday, March 1, 2024

National, State registers to determine beneficiaries of free Health Insurance’

The Assistant General Manager, Informal Sector Department, National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Dr. Sikiru Salawudeen has said the national and state registers would be used to determine beneficiaries of the Vulnerable Group Fund.

The vulnerable Group Fund created in the newly signed National Health Insurance Authority Act 2022 is to help provide free health insurance for vulnerable Nigerians.

Salawudeen disclosed this on Wednesday during the Basic Health Care Provision Fund webinar series.

Recall that the new Health Act which makes health insurance mandatory for all Nigerians and legal residents was signed into law by the President Muhammadu Buhari on the 19th of May 2022.

Read Also: NHIA introduces Programme to ensure availability of affordable Medicines

Responding to questions during the webinar moderated by Dr. Chris Isokpunwu, Dr. Slaudeen said, “Though the act didn’t state it, the governing council will determine the criteria for determining who is eligible and vulnerable.

“But in line with the basic healthcare provision, we are using the National Social Register and the State Social Register to identify those who are vulnerable and indigent. That is to mine the data and validate it to be sure that those people we are paying for are actually vulnerable. 

“I think with this new act we won’t be going far away from using the national and state social registers and other credible community targeting mechanisms to identify those who are vulnerable and indigent.”

The NHIA official stated further that the Vulnerable Group Fund is expected to help provide health insurance for over 83 million vulnerable Nigerians, adding that it would assist in achieving Universal Health Coverage for all Nigerians.

According to the World Health Organisation, Universal Health Coverage ensures that all persons have access to the health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship.

The world’s health authority has also pledged support for the implementation of the Vulnerable Group Funds.

Dr. Salawudeen also explained that the funds for the Vulnerable Group Funds will be sourced from Government Special Intervention Funds, returns on investments, grants, donations, gifts, and voluntary contributions.

Salawudeen also revealed that the Civil Society Organisations that were not captured previously have now been included in the governing council.

This, he said, is to ensure transparency and accountability in the implementation of the new Act.

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