NASS plans amendment of NHIS Act
The Senate on Monday initiated moves to review the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Act, with the view to strengthening the legislation for affordable healthcare delivery in the country.
Speaking at a two-day public hearing in Abuja, the chairman, Senate committee on Health Sen. Lanre Tejuosho, said the scope of the NHIS would also be widened through Universal Health Coverage.
Tejuosho added that lawmakers the world over, play important role in the design, implementation, financing as well as raising accountability bar for social policy thrusts.
He said: “The legislature’s statutory functions of appropriation, accountability, oversight and representation are needed to create necessary legal frameworks, mobilise additional public fund and hold the system accountable to ensure high quality design and effective implementation of UHC mechanisms.
“While there are ongoing pockets of health related efforts by national and state lawmakers, the Senate Committee on Health in collaboration with development partners had resolved to institute a legislative network on UHC.
“This is to harness and align the roles of lawmakers towards advancing UHC course and serve as a veritable tool for coordination and learning among federal and state lawmakers.
“The objectives of setting up the network, among other things, include improved appropriation to health sector by deepening the knowledge of law makers on economic, social, health and political benefits of improved health funding towards UHC.
“Also, it is to ensure prompt and adequate release of allocated funds by working with the lawmakers to make relevant central budget agencies accountable for funds released.”
While declaring the hearing open, President of the Senate Dr. Bukola Saraki, stated the summit was a platform seeking to strengthen institutional cooperation to advance legislative activities in the health sector.
Saraki said: “The importance of this framework cannot be overstated, as our major role as legislators is to promote the welfare of our citizens; to ensure that effective healthcare systems are available to all Nigerians.
“This informed the desire to draw in the cooperative efforts of both the National and State Assemblies targeted at developing health strategies that would work effectively for all.
“This for me is another rare opportunity for us to ensure that the legislative effort in both the National and State Assemblies are moving towards the same direction.”
Also speaking at the occasion, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, charged every Nigerian to rise to the responsibility for the development of the healthcare system.
“We are changing the narrative that health is not an item of expenditure. It is a critical factor for socio-economic development.
“When we invest one dollar in infrastructure the return on investment is three dollars. When we invest one dollar in immunisation, the return on investment is 16 dollars,” Adewole said