Keynote Address At The Annual Conference & Award Ceremony 2014 Delivered By Dr. Femi Martins (Executive Secretary NHIS)



Annual Conference & Award Ceremony 2014I am very happy to be invited to this conference at which issues relating to health insurance industry are being deliberated upon. The theme of the conference “Post-recapitalization and challenges in the Health Insurance and Managed Care industry in Nigeria” is timely and relevant as it is coming at a point when NHIS is just concluding a re-accreditation exercise of the HMOs and in which recapitalization formed a major thrust of the requirements.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the NHIS is more than ever committed to ensuring that Nigeria progresses on the path to Universal Health Coverage for all its citizens. To this end, the Scheme has scaled up efforts towards developing programs that satisfy the needs of the different socioeconomic groups in the country. The very arduous challenge of achieving 30% population coverage by 2015 hangs on the neck of NHIS in particular and the health insurance industry in general. We believe that this is achievable, only if programme that can be easily and rapidly implemented are developed. The need for system strengthening therefore cannot be overlooked. The NHIS has since restructured its operations towards a more decentralized mode. It has opened offices in all states of the federation, with coordination through Eight Zonal Offices. On the programme front, new ones are being developed and existing ones are being strengthened. Amongst the new programme that have been developed and which the Scheme believes will form the bedrock of the efforts aimed at expanding coverage include the Mobile Health Insurance Programme and the Programme for Pupils in Public Primary Schools. The Mobile Health Insurance Programme is a fruit of the efforts to the Scheme to simply its processes, especially as they relate to enrollment, payment for premium and other information management. The programme, which is being piloted in Lagos State, has shown great promise. An interesting component of this programme is the adoption platform. This represents an equity component from a deontological perspective-based on our cultural duty to assist one another. In a short while, this will be up scaled to other parts of the country. Similarly, the Scheme has developed the Public Primary Pupils Social Health Insurance programme. The programme is completely an equity programme to be financed from the efficiency gains of the NHIS and counterpart remittances from the State. So far Nineteen States have shown demonstrable interest to participate in the programme.

Annual Conference & Award Ceremony 2014Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, these pursuits can only be realized if the confidence and trust of existing and prospective clients are gained. It is important that key players have the required financial backbone to withstand shocks that may arise from time to time within the system. These concerns have necessitated the need to strengthen the HMOs, who carry out the purchasing role within the NHIS ecosystem, to ensure that once this confidence is gained, it can be sustained. As part of the NHIS regulatory oversight, the Scheme is to accredit and reaccredit all industry players to ensure their financial and administrative soundness to carry out business in the health insurance industry in Nigeria.

Annual Conference & Award Ceremony 2014In 2012, the Scheme contracted the services of Price Water Cooper to conduct an assessment of the soundness of the HMOs as they relate to their financial and administrative suitability. So far, 53 HMOs scaled the requirements and are in the final stages in the re-accreditation process. We hope to conclude this by the end of this month.

I am not unaware of the genuine efforts of the Institute for Health Insurance and Managed Care in Nigeria towards building capacity within the industry. I encourage you to keep this up. This conference seeks to discuss the challenges the exercise could create in the industry. As the key institution at the center of it all, the NHIS will be interested in the outputs from the discussions.

Once again, I thank the organizers of this forum for inviting me and ask that we all be candid in our discussion on the way forward as we work together to protect our citizens from the financial hardships faced when ill and improve the health outcomes of our health system.

Thank you and God Bless.

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