*Photo: Dr Yemi-Esan*
The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF), Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, has urged all the Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) in the country to rise up to their responsibilities in fashioning better ways of providing Civil Servants with quality and affordable healthcare delivery services, thereby reducing the morbidity rate being experienced in recent times.
She said this during a one-day Interactive Session with HMOs in the country on 8th August, 2023, in Abuja, according to a press statement on Wednesday by M. A. Ahmed, Director, Communications, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
Declaring the Session open, the Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office, Alh. Mahmud Adam Kambari, who represented the HoCSF, affirmed that the health of Civil Servants can no longer be taken for granted, as they die on a daily basis from ailments that are preventable and curable.
Setting the tone of the discussion, he called on the HMOs to partner with the Civil Service on regular medical check-ups, as well as provide quality medications and comprehensive medical health care to them. He also sought to know the fate of the retirees under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the number of Civil Servants benefitting monthly from the NHIS.
Furthermore, the Permanent Secretary asked the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), who are the Regulatory Body, to ensure that HMOs are visible and accessible to Civil Servants (Enrolees), as many of them do not know their HMOs.
He also tasked them on the need to empower the HMOs with more roles other than mere reporting, insisting that with more roles they will be able to deal with the issues of the enrolees on their own without much reliance on the NHIA.
Earlier in her Welcome Address, the Director, Occupational Health, Safety and Environment (OHSE)-OHCSF, Dr. Comfort Adeosun, highlighted the theme of the Interactive Session as “Promoting a Healthy and Productive Workforce,” even as she emphasised on the need to work in synergy with HMOs for quality healthcare to all Civil Servants, affirming that the meeting was an avenue for the three parties – the Enrolees (Civil Servants represented by the OHCSF), the HMOs and the Health Insurance Regulatory Body, NHIA to share thoughts, challenges and chat the way forward for a better, affordable and quality healthcare delivery to Civil Servants.
The event witnessed three presentations. The first was from the NHIA representative, Dr. Kapoona Eteng, who spoke on the “Roles and Responsibilities of HMOs to Enrolees.” She disclosed that under the 2022 Act of the NHIA, the roles of the HMOs are to provide private health insurance on complementary and supplementary basis; function as third party in the administration of healthcare; perform administrative functions and many others.
Dr. Kemi Lawson delivered the second presentation titled; “Leveraging on the Values of Routine Medical Check-up to Reduce Morbidity,” while the last presentation, “Raising the Bar in Health Insurance Experience in Nigeria” was delivered by the representative of Leadway Insurance Company Limited, Dr. Gideon Anumba. He harped on the use of technology to get things done seamlessly and more effectively.
At the Session, issues such as lack of data for the HMOs to work with, inadequate funds released to HMOs, lack of client relationship from healthcare providers, non-uniformity of soft wares, non-regulation of healthcare facilities on the kind of healthcare to provide (primary, secondary and tertiary) to enrolees and many other issues were addressed during the interactive session. Others pending issues were assigned to the NHIA for proper attention in the overall interest of workers.
The participants commended the Office for being proactive in ensuring qualitative health services, thereby guaranteeing a healthy and productive workforce.
Underscoring the importance of the meeting to the OHCSF and the Service, in general, the Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office, participated from the beginning to the end of the Session and a communique is to be issued at a later date.