The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) on Friday revealed that the the NHIA will continue to work until NHIA become the pride of all Nigerians while putting modalities in place to strengthen its operation as a regulator with more functions and also entrenched mandatory health insurance for all Nigerians to ensure Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

These statements were made by Mr. Theodore Ehannire, NHIA, Edo State Coordinator, during the agency’s celebration of International Customer Week from October 2 to October 6 in Benin City.

The NHIA, Edo office, also noted that enrollee satisfaction remains the foundation of the agency’s operations and one of the key reasons for its establishment.

NHIA, formerly the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), was established in 1999 by decree 35 and officially renamed on May 24, 2022.

“The change of name from NHIS to NHIA is part of the organizational reforms of the Director General (DG), Prof MN Sambo, to see that NHIA’s mandate is achieved by strengthening us to operate as a regulator with more functions and also entrenched the mandatory health insurance for all Nigerians to ensure Universal Health Coverage,” Ehannire said.

The NHIA, Edo State Coordinator, reiterated the words of the DG, Prof MN Sambo, “We will continue to work until NHIA becomes the pride of all Nigerians.”

NHIA’s core mandate is directed at providing accessible, affordable and qualitative healthcare for all Nigerians through a public private partnership (PPP) to achieve the Universal Health Coverage.

Ehannire, stated that the customers week is celebrated in 36 states across the country, noting it gives the authorithy a chance to look back and see how enrollees benefit from its services.

He said a lot has changed within the authorithy since the new NHIA was signed into law, leading to more strategic programs that have increased participation, especially in Edo State and the Country at large.

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“Although not all our programmes have been implemented, the change of name has made the agency stronger to protect the enrollees and to sanction erring stakeholders in the health insurance ecosystem.

“We now have a new operational guideline that will be unveiled soon and new Memoranda of Understanding, (MoU) has been signed with pharmaceuticals and drug manufacturers to make our operations better with the enrollees in mind,” he said.

However, he urged enrollees to organize themselves and join association so that they can benefit more from the organization.

On their part, some enrollees who came during the week long exercise, attesteted to the fact that NHIA, with its new mandate has come to address issues that were previously a challenge in the health sector amongst enrollees, Health Maintenance Organizations and health care providers.

The enrollees stated that there is a need to raise awareness among healthcare professionals who sometimes try to defraud members, they called for closer collaboration between NHIA and members of the public to fully integrate enrollees in the scheme.

Some enrollees expressed satisfaction with the services they have received from the authorithy through the Edo State office and thank NHIA management for the innovation, as well as the opportunity given them to state their views especially on the grey areas which have to do with their relationship with their healthcare providers.

They encouraged more people to join the scheme while calling on NHIA to carry out more monitoring of private healthcare practitioners who in a bid to make more profit try to shortchange enrollees by telling them that some conditions were partly covered.

Mr Alassan, an enrollee who just came in to register their staff on group GIFSHIP was so elated, as he said he never thought such a thing as customers week happen in government establishment and was happy that their company is joining at this time.