With the huge prospects of fast-tracking the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has presented its Digital Transformation Framework to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in Abuja.
The framework is designed to deploy technology to address the processes and effect real-time results in the delivery of health insurance services.
Tracing the trajectory of the establishment of the framework, also known as the eNHIS, Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Prof. Mohammed Sambo stated that the health insurance regulator depended on manual processes and rudimentary technology in the operation of health insurance while critical data was hosted outside the country by a South African firm.
Sambo recalled that that situation presented issues of inefficiency in service delivery as well as security integrity of data, adding that the contracting firm brought little value either in human or material resources to the system.
The health insurance boss recalled that previous approvals for the execution of eNHIS in 2016 ran into contracting glitches, confining the initiative to uncertainties and non-implementation.
The professor of health policy however stated that collaboration with the Nigerian Communication Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) leveraging Presidential Executive Orders 003 and 005 and Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval had ensured that the eNHIS has become a reality, noting that partnership with NIGCOMSAT had saved huge funds for the government.
The former provost of the College of Medicine, Kaduna State University listed the benefits of automation of health insurance operations to include but not limited to connectivity among stakeholders, real-time service provision, resolution of complaints, data analytics and effective call management system.
In his remarks, the Chairman of EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa noted the importance of integrating the eNHIS system with National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) database for the purpose of synchronization to avoid the duplication of data collection efforts.
Bawa emphasized the need to ensure the security of data and servers for backups in various locations, stressing that security of ICT infrastructure should never be allowed to suffer any kind of breach.
On erring stakeholders especially hospitals, Bawa noted that if service delivery was to be effective sanctions should be imposed on facilities that fail to treat patients who have been paid for under the Scheme, sharing a personal experience in that regard in the course of visiting his *”health care facility.*
Addressing issues of breaches, Bawa expressed the hope that the eNHIS will curtail fraud within health insurance operations, counseling that a comparative study of how developed countries have tackled unwholesome practices in health insurance will be useful.
In the course of the meeting, the NHIS General Manager, ICT, Prince Nasiru Ikharo made a comprehensive presentation of the eNHIS project, detailing processes, prospects, linkages, and benefits to Nigerians in the long run.
The NHIS team was accompanied to the presentation by top officials of NIGCOMSAT, the implementing partners.
By Kazeem Biriowo,
The Nigerian Tribune