Edo State Stakeholders in the health sector have called for more enlightenment campaigns and sensitization of Nigerians on the need to key into the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) scheme, emphasizing on its cost-effectiveness in accessing healthcare services.

The stakeholders expressed their opinions at the 3rd quarter’s stakeholders meeting put together by the Edo NHIA Coordinating Office in Benin City.

Speaking, the Edo State Coordinator, NHIA, Amb. Ehannire Theodore Osas stated that lack of awareness is one of the fundamental problems militating against the scheme, noting that it would be addressed.

Ehannire posited that Nigerians need to be aware of their rights and benefits in the scheme, stressing that the stakeholders’ meeting will provide the relevant opportunity to create awareness so that the nation would attain its universal health coverage status.

“The crowd of persons here shows that people want to know more about the NHIA and want it to be better for them. Lack of awareness is the problem facing this scheme. Most of the people are not aware and that is the essence of this our stakeholders meeting.

“We want them to be aware of their rights and benefits under the NHIA. We also want feedback from the challenges they are facing on the field or in their hospitals,” Ehanire said.

The Edo State NHIA Coordinator further expressed: “Most times, people think that government projects do not work, but this one is different because this has to do with health. It works but if we don’t tell people how it works, they will not know. One of the major ways we can achieve universal health coverage is through enlightenment.

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“Let the people know what is on ground, let the people know what the Federal Government has for them, let them know that there is health insurance and let them know the various health insurance that we have in the state and in the country.”

A specialist, Dr. Bright Oniovokukor, representing the Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), while speaking on the topic “Claims, Processing and Vetting”, categorically stated that it is of utmost importance for the hospitals and the Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) to have a good working relationship and understanding to ensure the smooth operation of the NHIA in Nigeria.

“Claims are the bills the hospitals send to the HMOs and the HMOs have to vet it to be sure that it is done in the right direction and using the appropriate parameters.

“And that has actually been a major challenge with many of the hospitals when they send their bills, the exact amount that they sent, are not paid because they failed to use the right format, but this stakeholders meeting is here to correct that,” Oniovokukor revealed.

On his part, Comrade Ehiaguina Gabriel, General Secretary, Committee of Federal Government Establishment, Edo State, said the stakeholders’ meeting will enable them to address the known associated challenges in the scheme.

“The act of the NHIA is good. In other countries, at least, the Government takes care of its citizens but in Nigeria, I think this is a welcome development.

“It is a welcome development because some of the things we experience when we access our healthcare providers, today, we have the opportunity to talk about them because when you complain of this thing, nobody listens to us,” Gabriel said.