The Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, Professor Mohammed Nasir Sambo, has reiterated the agency’s commitment to supporting the sustained efforts of the Federal Government to protect all Nigerians from the debilitating scourge of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
He made the assertion while handing over a consignment of Personal Protection Equipment to the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Umar Abba Mohammed at the Headquarter Complex of the anti-graft agency, in Abuja.
Professor Sambo commended the strategies and initiatives being deployed by the nation through the Federal Ministry of Health, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), to protect the lives and livelihood of all residents of the country.
He, however, expressed particular concern for institutions and personnel providing essential services, whose nature of work predisposes them to high risk of infection, stressing that no effort must be spared to ensure their protection in the line of duty.
This, he said, is responsible for “the prompt response of the NHIS to requests from the PTF on COVID-19 for assistance in the provision of personal protection equipment for officers of strategic agencies such as the Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the EFCC.”
The NHIS boss said the Scheme had also recently extended similar gestures to personnel of healthcare providers through the government of some states in the country with a high burden of COVID -19.
Prof Sambo disclosed that this was intended to protect frontline health workers from possible infection while they provide services to health seekers, and to also stem the reported abandonment of duty posts by some health workers for fear of infection by the dreaded virus.
He said the seriousness attached to curbing the spread of the virus informed the Scheme’s constitution of a Standing Committee on COVID-19, charged to design internal strategies and enforce overall protocol and guidelines issued by relevant authorities against the disease.
The Executive Secretary on the occasion again expressed the gratitude of NHIS to the Commission, for its continued assistance in the recovery and return of trapped funds of the Scheme, which he said has been timely, as the Scheme is currently on an aggressive drive for expansion of coverage towards the attainment of universal health coverage in the country.
Speaking at the occasion the National Coordinator of the PTF on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, expressed the concern that the pandemic has inflicted untold hardship on social, economic, and even security situations in the country, and therefore called for the sustenance of the push against the virus.
According to him, “the best vaccine against the virus, for now, is wearing a mask, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer and observe social distancing.”
Dr. Aliyu commended the management of EFCC for the impressive observance of prevention protocols noticeable on their premises and among their personnel.
In his remarks, the acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Umar Abba Mohammed, expressed the agency’s appreciation to the PTF for modifying the huge supply of PPE from NHIS, adding that it will go a long way in ensuring the protection of the agency’s staff in the line of duty.
He promised to ensure that distribution is made to the fourteen zonal formations of EFCC nationwide.
The acting Chairman recalled his personal role in the recovery of the trapped funds of the Scheme, and the return of the same to NHIS while giving assurance to continue to pursue vigorously further fund recovery for the Scheme.