Over 90% Nigerians Eligible for Health Insurance Aren’t Covered, Embattled NHIS Chief Yusuf Speaks

The newly reinstated Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, said on Thursday that over 90 per cent of Nigerians eligible for the scheme have not been covered.

Mr. Yusuf noted that a lot needs to be done to realise health insurance for all Nigerians under the Universal Health Coverage.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Mr. Usman, a professor, said this in Sokoto at a public event

This is the first public statement from the NHIS boss since the news of his controversial reinstatement broke.

President Muhammadu Buhari last Tuesday reinstated Mr. Yusuf exactly six months after he was suspended by the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, following allegations of gross misconduct.

Some NHIS workers last Thursday downed tools as Mr. Usman resumed work at the headquarters of the agency in Abuja. According to the workers, reinstating Mr. Yusuf at this time is contrary to fairness and equity. Some other workers, however, demonstrated in support of the NHIS chief.

Mr. Yusuf on Thursday, however, urged the public not to be distracted by what they hear on or read in the media about his reinstatement by President Buhari.

“Don’t be distracted by what you are hearing on the media. The real thing, it is corruption fighting us and we will fight back to keep faith with our responsibilities to Nigerians.

“We are here to work for our people and the country, and anybody who thinks we are doing it for ourselves or our office that person is missing the point,” he said.

The NHIS boss said that he would not in any way be discouraged in his efforts at providing the required services to Nigerians.

The NHIS has been tainted with graft and sharp practises even before Mr. Yusuf took over as head of the agency.

Nigerians have complained of its inability to address their health needs.

No fewer than 450 petitions have been sent to the National Assembly by frustrated Nigerians. The complaints ranged from lack of attention by hospitals, delayed attention, low drug dispensing to enrolees in the scheme and sometimes rejection of patients because of the inability of HMOs to meet their payment obligations to hospitals.

Last June, calls for investigation into the activities of the scheme prompted a public hearing at the floor of the House of Representatives on how N351 billion was spent by the scheme since inception 13 years ago.

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