The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is to digitalise its services before the end of this year, the Executive Secretary of the organisation, Prof. Mohammed Sambo, announced in Abuja yesterday.
Sambo told newsmen that the digitalisation was part of initiatives to herald the birth of what he tagged electronic-NHIS or e-NHIS.
The executive secretary, who is the latest top government functionary to feature at a forum, said that the management of NHIS had already developed a framework to achieve the e-NHIS policy.
According to him, e-NHIS is a major reform that is being seriously pursued by the NHIS management to change the way the scheme does its business completely.
He explained that “the concept of e-NHIS is to allow for a paradigm shift from the manual mechanism of driving the company’s business process to an automated one.
“We want to see a process where enrollment will be automated and from the comfort of your bedroom, you can enroll into the NHIS register; select your provider, select your Health Maintenance Organisation (HMO) and even make payment.
“So, people will only come to NHIS office to get their Identification Cards (ID).
“We are even musing on the idea of electronic ID cards, so that you can just walk into the healthcare facility and you will be attended to.
“The scheme will have minimum requirement for the healthcare facilities so that they can continue to be in NHIS.’’
Sambo said also that through the e-NHIS, the entire health system could become automated, so as to make things easier for everyone.
He explained further that “with e-NHIS, we can even have electronic medical records of patients, giving their medical history till date.
“Electronic medical records also create room for tele-medicine and many more possibilities.”
The executive secretary assured that the scheme had already received approval from the Federal Executive Council to deploy the process of a shift from manual business process to an automated one.
He said that in addition, the NHIS had adjusted its operations to achieve maximum results in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At the beginning of COVID-19, we looked at our mandate to see what should be done to ensure that NHIS adapts to the changes brought by the pandemic.
“In fact, it is on record that at the beginning of COVID-19, most of our healthcare providers had no sources of income and we were afraid of the fact that enrollees in the NHIS would be turned back.
“We were not even sure that we will continue to have funding to be able to sustain our programmes.’’
Sambo said that the management of the NHIS had to modify the payment pattern to ensure effective service delivery.
“So, what we did quickly was to look at our business process, where we paid premium to HMOs on monthly basis and they in turn, paid premium to healthcare facilities.
“We modified that to quarterly payment and I can tell you without fear of contradiction that it was the quarterly funding that stabilised most of the healthcare facilities during the onset of COVID-19.”
NDLEA Destroys 21 Tonnes Of Drugs In Niger
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has destroyed drugs weighing 21 tonnes in Maikunkule village of Bosso Local Government Area of Niger State.
The NDLEA claimed that the destroyed drugs street value was worth more than N1 billion.
The Commander of NDLEA in the Niger State, Mr Haruna Kwetishe, said that the destruction was symbolic and in line with the NDLEA Act.
“NDLEA Act mandates us to arrest drug traffickers and dealers, seize illicit drugs and prosecute all drugs related offenders who contravene the Act and destroy seized drugs publicly, in fulfilment of this mandate.
“NDLEA Niger Command obtained court orders from Federal High Court, Minna, for the public destruction of the 21 tonnes of various types of illicit substances.
“Public destruction of drugs is therefore a continuous exercise in our quest to have a drug-free and secured society in the country and the world at large”, he said.
He said that the destroyed drugs included Cannabis Sativa, psychotropic substances and various grammes of other banned stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine.
“Nigeria used to be a transit port because of the activities of drug cartels that import drugs from drug producing countries to the country before smuggling same to Europe, Asia and America”, he noted.
The state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, represented by the state Commissioner for Internal Security, Emmanuel Umaru, said that the security of lives and property was a cardinal focus of his administration.
FG Trains CSOs, NGOs To Monitor School Feeding Programme
The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (MHADMSD) has trained members of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) on school feeding programme monitoring.
Speaking at the capacity building programme in Abuja, Monday, the facilitator, Dr Grace Dafiel, said that the aim of the training was to ensure effective accountability and sustainability of school feeding programme.
“The essence of the training is to ensure that CSO/NGO capacity is built to be able to monitor the National Home-Grown School Feeding programme.
“This is to help us understand how we can institutionalise the programme which is one of the four clusters of the social protections programme under the ministry.
“The CSOs involvement means that a lot of advocacy work is going to go into it, especially at the community level for the community participation ownership.
“As well as ensuring sustainability even if all odds are there, you know the government cannot do it alone, there is a need for the CSOs to come on board’, Dafiel said.
She said that after the training, they would come up with strategies that would ensure sustainability.
“Give life to the programme as well as ensure that the programme is executed in a transparent, open and accountable manner”.
One of the participants, Mr Salaudeen Hashim, stated that building the capacity of the CSOs was very crucial as they were the ones closest to the communities.
While noting that one of the key gap noticed in the programme was stakeholders’ coordination, Hashim said the training would go a long way in breaching the gap.
“This is actually a stepping stone as it will encourage stakeholders’ participation.
“It is also important to remove the issue of politicisation of the programme”, he said.
He also expressed concern over the number of out-of-school children in some parts of the country, saying that currently 9.8 million children were already benefiting from the programme.
“While there are still about 10.5 million out-of-school children in the North East, it is very necessary to get more people to enrol and participate in school feeding programme”, he said.
On her part, the Executive Director, Youth Child Support Initiative, Enugu, Mrs Ijeoma Nnaji, described the programme as a good innovation.
She said that partnering with the CSOs would aid effective monitoring of the programme at the community level and ensure accountability.
It was gathered that the capacity building workshop under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme was organised for the CSOs and NGOs across 34 states.
Insecurity: NHRC, UNDP, Adamawa Govt Advocate People-Oriented Approach
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Adamawa State Government have advised that initiatives aimed at addressing the nation’s security challenge should be people-centred.
They argued that the success of any peace building and conflict resolution initiative requires the buy-in of the people.
The Executive Secretary, NHRC, Tony Ojukwu; Solicitor General of Adamawa State, Samuel Yaumande and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Reintegration and Humanitarian Services, Aishatu Bibi Umar Rilwanu, also suggested the adoption of transitional justice at securing peace in troubled parts of the country.
This was the submission at a training workshop on ‘Transitional Justice and Reconciliation in North-East Nigeria’, organised by the NHRC with support from UNDP and the European Union (EU) in Yola, on Monday.
Represented by his Special Human Rights Adviser, Hilary Ogbonna, Ojukwu stressed the relevance of transitional justice in the country at ensuring peace and reconciliation among inhabitants of the crisis-ridden parts of the country like the North-East.
He noted that the desire for transitional justice was no longer limited to the North-East, because other parts of the country, including the North-West, South-East are equally battling insecurity.
Ojukwu added that it was gradually becoming important to develop a national framework for promoting peace, reconciliation and reintegration.
He said the two-day training was aimed, among others, at exposing the media to the concept of transitional justice, and its application to addressing causes of conflicts and ensuring accountability.
Yaumande and Rilwanu hailed the NHRC for the initiative and pledged Adamawa State Government’s support towards engendering peace, reconciliation and reintegration of its people.
In his paper titled: “Framing speech: Roles of Media in Peace Building, Reconciliation and Transitional Justice in Conflicts Societies in West African,” Dr. Chukwuemeka Eze said the media is an important tool in conflict management.
He urged the media to refrain from emphasising issues that would escalate conflicts and avoid sensational reportage.
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