The President of the Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), Mr Ayuba Wabba, has called on the National Assembly to only `amend and not repeal` the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Act.
Wabba made the call on Thursday while speaking in an interview with Newsmen in Lagos. he was reacting to plans by the House of Representatives to repeal the NHIS Act, enacted in 1999.
The bill which was sponsored by Mr Ndudi Elumelu, Chairman, House Committee on Health, seeks to repeal the existing Act because Nigerians in the rural areas are not benefiting from the NHIS.
Elumelu said that the current NHIS Act did not provide for a regulatory body to administer health services, neither did it provide for public health funds to assist the poor in accessing health services in Nigeria.
Wabba said that it would be a welcome development if the scheme was amended to embrace other people and make life better for them.
He said that the scheme should be amended to enable it capture those who were not included in it earlier rather than being repealed.
“The NHIS is supposed to be an insurance scheme that regulates agencies. There are members of board and stakeholders that manage it. Let them look at some areas and amend it,” he said.
The union president said that the issue was not about the law but improvement of the scheme since public workers were the only current beneficiary.
“The focus should not be on the management of the fund but on the welfare of the people.
“The workers are critical in the issue because it is their funds that are being used to manage the scheme. “Let us use it to improve the health care of our people as obtained in other parts of the world,” he said.
Over1.2 million workers in the public service have benefited from the scheme since it was established.