The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has called for improvement in the quality of services being rendered to enrollees of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in FCT hospitals.
The Minister made this call when the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the Scheme, Professor Usman Yusuf paid him a visited in his office at Area 11, Garki I District, Abuja on Friday.
Malam Bello said the feedback he has been receiving from enrollees of the Scheme has not been encouraging, especially with regards to the quality of drugs being provided to them.
The Minister wondered why patients would be asked to purchase drugs from third parties outside of the scheme, despite making part payments to hospital managements in addition to their contributions to the National Health Insurance Scheme.
Malam Bello urged the organization to also tackle the issue of the perception in the public that drugs in the NHIS system are always of low quality types because this is what the feedbacks usually reveal.
According to him, “If the funding or contribution being made by the enrollees is the issue, then it is very important for us to tackle that because it is not appropriate for them to pay for portion of the services in the hospitals and then they go outside to pay for other services. That makes it difficult for the physicians and for you the agencies moving these services to really profile your patients properly, because parties that are under your supervision as well as parties that are not under your supervision are giving services. So, it becomes difficult for you to detect issues of maybe wrong diagnosis or wrong prescription.”
Reacting to the suggestion that Desk Officers should be assigned to healthcare facilities nationwide to monitor the services being provided to subscribers of the NHIS, the Minister said the FCT Administration would give full support to any idea that could help improve services to the residents.
His words: “The bottom line is service delivery and the feedback from the general public, not only in FCT but so many other States has not been encouraging. For the Scheme to succeed, we as the operators, the policy makers and more importantly, those in enforcement and supervision are the key and that’s why we whole heartedly support your vision and requirement to assign Desk Officers in all the hospitals nationwide”.
“The FCT will naturally key into it and provide you the necessary support. The advantage you have is that being stationed in the FCT, you could always use the facilities you have in the FCT to try all the new ideas and interventions you want to do and we will support you so that the FCT will be a model that you will always showcase to other states when you go for advocacy or when you invite them to Abuja,” the Minister stressed.
Malam Bello thus, directed the Secretary of the FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat, General Manager of the FCT Hospital Services Management Board as well as the FCT Health Insurance Scheme to sit down with the NHIS team and discuss issues on how to improve the situation.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the Scheme, Professor Usman Yusuf said, “Our enrollees nationwide have not been treated with the respect and dignity they deserved as many of our patients go to hospitals and they complain to us that drugs are usually out of stock”.
Professor Yusuf added, “That is why I solicit the support of the FCT Minister to allow NHIS to deploy Desk Officers in FCT hospitals to advocate for patients. So that when our patients go to hospitals and are told they encounter problems, they have somebody to go to and complain, which is the NHIS Desk Officer. The Desk Officer will get direct access to me just as I have direct access to the Hon. Minister of FCT”.