AS part of activities to mark Nigeria’s Centennial anniversary, the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, is offering a special treatment package of Non-Communicable Diseases to hundreds of enrolees nationwide.

Disclosing this to newsmen during a working visit of the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, and other parastatals in Lagos, Executive Secretary, NHIS, Dr. Femi Thomas, said the programme, was designed to give back to beneficiaries of the Scheme.

“The National Health Insurance Scheme has approved funds to take care of tertiary and super tertiary diseases for 2014. We are going to cover 100 cardiac interventions and open heart operations, 100 cancer cases, 100 major renal and orthopaedic operations nationwide as part of the centennial celebration,” he disclosed.

Thomas said there is a window of opportunity for enrollees to benefit from the initiative this year, noting that efforts was on to develop programmes that will cover other enrolees in the future.

The Executive Secretary and his entourage were in Lagos to jump-start the accreditation process of the Scheme in readiness for massive enrolment earmarked for 2014.

Last year, President Goodluck Jonathan mandated the Scheme to cover 30 percent of Nigerians by 2015, however, in-house, Thomas said the decision is to go to 40 percent and to achieve that, at least 70.8 million Nigerians must be reached. He argued that the nation needs more health facilities. “the NHIS is trying to do massive accreditation so as to enlist more facilities for the programme.

On legislation, he said the process should be concluded this year. “Before then, we are making use of what we have. Making the scheme mandatory is the way to go. The language worldwide now is Universal Health Care, UHC. For health insurance to be universal it has to be compulsory. As long as you do not make it compulsory people will find reason not to enroll.

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