Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, on Monday said the ninth National Assembly is committed to making the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) achieve its mandate of reducing out-of-pocket spending to the barest minimum.
The lawmaker alluded to calls by health experts for a systematic health funding through mandatory health insurance.
He expressed his belief that NHIS is key to delivering quality and affordable health services to every Nigerian.
Mr Lawan said the Senate under his leadership will work towards increasing access to the scheme.
He spoke as a special guest during the ground breaking and foundation stone laying ceremony of the national secretariat complex of the Medical and Dental Consultant’s Association (MDCAN).
The site is located at Lugbe, a satellite town of Abuja, where the event was held.
Also at the ceremony was Tanko Sununu, the Chairman, House of representative’s committee on health services; Francis Faduyile, the president of the National Medical Association and Ngim E. Ngim, MDCAN president, among others.
Though Mr Lawan was not physically present for the ceremony, he was represented by his special assistant on health, Muktar Mohammed.
Speaking through Mr Mohammed, the official said the assembly will focus on reviewing bottlenecks in existing laws on health.
He said his leadership will see to the removal of impediments to the implementation of policies and programs on healthcare delivery.
He said the Senate is open to work with all lead health professionals to sanitise the health sector.
Mr Lawan described the building project as a landmark achievement by the association of doctors.
Also speaking, Mr Sununu said the focus of the house under Femi Gbajabiamila would be geared towards bringing more specialists into the health system.
He said the assembly is a major stakeholder in funding residency program. “There are plans to ensure that funding is provided to make sure that health is well provided for in Nigeria,” he noted.
In his brief remark, Mr Faduyile said the building project will establish the visibility of MDCAN in the Federal Capital Territory.
He said his presence at the occasion will put an end to perceived controversy on the MDCAN and NMA building projects.
Mr Faduyile said the NMA as a ‘father of all doctors’ associations is’ fully in support of the MDCAN building project, even though it has its own undeveloped building project.
He urged doctors, who have served more than 10 years, to support the NMA project with N40, 000. He said those in their 10th of service and below should pay N20, 000.
Earlier in his welcome remark, Mr Ngim, the MDCAN president said the building project was conceived as “part of the strategic development of our association to reposition it for better service and the Nigerian people.
“The project will among other benefits ease administration of the association including storage and easy retrieval of documents, improve coordination of programmes, enhance communication and relationship with partners and serve as platform to diversify the source of revenue of the association rather than total dependency on capitation and levies,” he explained.
He said the project, which will be executed in three phases, is a multipurpose building comprising a national secretariat, “which will also accommodate the head office of Healthnomics LTD – a Health Management Organisation (HMO) being floated by MDCAN, an event centre and a 52-room Guest House”
“Phase 1 is to be funded by contributions by members while phases 2 and 3, being interest –yielding projects, are to be funded by investors through subscription by members and other interested Nigerians. However, the association will retain a substantial share of the investment,” he explained.
After the brief remarks, the guests, led by Messrs Sununu and Faduyile unveiled the foundation stone of the project.