The Cross River office of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), has sought collaboration with the State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to properly publicize its activities towards the entrenchment of Universal Health Coverage, as well as elicit public buy-in.
Speaking during a courtesy call on the leadership of the NUJ in Calabar, Thursday, the State Coordinator, NHIA, Mr Stanley Effah, expressed delight in the opportunity to interface with a body as critical as NUJ, in a bid to “deepen advocacy, enhance stakeholder collaboration and create awareness on social health insurance for the public good.”
“We came here because NUJ is a major stakeholder in the actualization of Universal Health Coverage. The reputation of your profession for shaping public opinion cannot be overemphasized,” Effah expressed.
The Coordinator averred that the NHIA Act has empowered the Nigerian health system to tackle the high incidence of poverty caused by out-of-pocket expenses for health care, through health insurance for all categories of Nigerians.
He further stated that the Act also establishes and empowers the NHIA to ensure the provision of health insurance for all Nigerians through a mandatory mechanism, in collaboration with state health insurance agencies, adding that “Sections 25 and 26 of the Act established the Vulnerable Group Fund (VGF),” indicating the various sources from which funding would be drawn.
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“We know that as a welfare Union and professional body, you will be invaluable in setting the agenda for Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria, as well as educating the public that health insurance is now compulsory to all Nigerians,” the Coordinator remarked.
The Coordinator hinted that a new, encompassing programme called the “Group, Individual and Family Social Health Insurance Programme (GIFSHIP)” had been introduced by NHIA.
He said the GIFSHIP initiative was part of NHIA’s determination to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) within set timelines through its various service platforms, pointing out that GIFSHIP has become the main vehicle of enrollment, especially in the non-formal sector of the economy.
“We want you to join us in eliciting public buy-in towards the actualization of Universal Health Coverage,” the NHIA official stressed.
In his response, the Chairman, Cross River State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Comrade Nsa Gill, thanked the NHIA team for deeming it expedient to visit the NUJ leadership, saying Journalists and media establishments have the moral obligation to propagate human interest activities, including those bothering on the health of citizens.
Lamenting the lack of public trust in some public institutions, Comrade Gill implored the NHIA to reinvigorate public trust that would attract confidence and participation from individuals and organisations.
He also urged the NHIA to keep its doors open, as Journalists will be knocking for information that will keep the public abreast of the happenings and the gains the public can get.
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