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Minister: Braceup on inclusion of Retirees, Senior Citizens in NHIS

By Fatima Saka

The Minister of Health Dr. Osagie E. Ehanire has said the Cornerstone to Human Capital Development is inclusion of elderly in NHIS, in accordance with ministerial vision to attain Universal Health Coverage that is “Leaving No One Behind”.

Dr. Ehanire made this assertion on Tuesday in Abuja on the delivery of the mandate on the Ministerial Committee for the Provision of National Health Insurance Scheme to the Retirees and Elderly persons in Nigeria.

The minister further applauded the committee, Saying the mandate of the ministry is to ensure healthy lives and well-being for all Nigerians.

The minister asserted that the committee was inaugurated as part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to a milestone and the quality of health care of the Elderly persons through provision of health insurance.

Recalling that, the ministerial committee for the provision of NHIS to Retirees and Elderly persons was inaugurated on the 30th November, 2020.

Ehanire reiterated that the committee to assess the current situation of health Insurance coverage and access to health care for retirees and senior citizens over 60 years across the Federation.

Adding that this committee is foreseeing and development of the National Framework for the effective Health Insurance Coverage of Retirees and Senior citizens with recommendations to the Minister of Health on the potential resource mobilization as well as other mechanisms for the successful implementation of the framework.

Commending on the committee on the tasks;
“To undertake any other activity that will facilitate the Health Insurance Coverage of Retirees and Senior citizens in Nigeria.

“In the Term of Reference the tasks of the committee were grueling and difficult. In less than 2 years you submitted the Draft Report in June 2022 and today.

” Committee has just made the formal presentation of the report. This shows that the committee delivered the job and it speaks volume to the character and commitment to duty of members of the committee.

“Nigeria is a signatory to several global initiatives and committed to the health and development of her citizens.

In addition, Speaking on recommendation and intervention: the minister said said that the inclusion of senior citizens are:
“The creation of an Elderly branch in the GASHE Division of the Family Health Department in 2008.

“To formulate Policy, guidelines and Action Plans for the health care and well-being of the older persons.

“In 2016, the Ministry created a project called Health Program for Improved Quality Care (HEPIQ-C). Both the Elderly care program and HEPIQ-C Project have worked assiduously to ensure that good health and well-being of the elderly are taken care of.

“In 2018, the FMOH embarked on the establishment of six (6) Geriatric centers; one in each of the 6-geo-political zones.

Also, In delivering his report, Linus Awute, the Chairman of the Ministerial Committee for the Provision of National Health Insurance Scheme to the Retirees and Elderly, said sticking to the terms of the committee is to do the needful.

He further stated that, the submission of the information that is in existence to society by considering the fact that is a universal health coverage. Adding that, the universal health coverage will require a lot of funds, notwithstanding if the source funds are established, that it will identify multiple source funding and that will attain a great success.

Meanwhile, he added health is not regulated by the nation government alone, that there are many global initiatives out there. Adding that, pointing to one efficient health delivery in the manners that will dignity for the end user’s and a manner that will also protect them from the financial risk.

“So the committee has been able to establish the template and anchor it on the principle of equity and justice, and if implemented it will require a lot of political will to be able to look at various recommendations and to be able to factor such recommendations into the program towards effective implementation.

” Recommendation is a key to every committee which is to resolve every single recommended acquisition to know the intended consequences and also to foresee the challenges and difficulties that will factor into what is called implementation strategy,”he stated.

In her remarks, Dr. Salma Ibrahim Anas, the committee secretary, stated that no one is left behind, adding that the ministry 2 years ago looked at how to include the elderly persons and retirees on how they best cater to the nation because they have contributed to national development.

Dr Anas expressed that most people as they grow older have needs for healthcare services and the ministry finds out that they don’t have access to quality healthcare services that is why the federal government ensures inclusiveness of everyone, especially the vulnerable groups being taken good care of.

“Having access to the basic amenities at no cost to senior citizens will guarantee them of live long and benefits from the quality healthcare.

” For the ministry it is a huge milestone, also to the minister of health and the health sectors.

“This intervention will also be centralized up to the national level, likewise to attract national government, stakeholders, and private sectors to ensure they roll out the services across the country for elderly persons to enjoy the quality healthcare,” she stated.

In the reports on key Implementation activities of the ministers committee/ TWG on the the provision of the Health Insurance Scheme for Retirees and Elderly person follows:
Develapment of Blueprint, National Stakeholder Engagement, Presentasion to National Counci on Heath (NCH), Presidential Summit, Data Collection &Geospatial Mapping, Senstication & Mobilistion of Older person, and Development of a pool of specialsts in geriatrics, among others.

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