The Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Dr. Femi Thomas has said the NHIS School Programme would be inaugurated this year.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, yesterday, that the programme would enable primary and secondary school pupils from age six to 12 years benefit from services of the scheme.
Thomas said the school programme would add about 24 million additional enrolments to beneficiaries of the NHIS.
He added that plans were also on to include students of tertiary institutions into the scheme, saying this would help to fast-track the objective of achieving universal access to healthcare.
“Children in primary schools will be treated free. It is our hope that the free health programme will enlist 14 million children nationwide.”
The executive secretary, however, stated that NHIS had not gone the way it was envisaged; calling on Nigerians to enroll for health insurance.
He said the Federal Government had spent over N1billion on the scheme for promoting maternal and child health in reducing unnecessary deaths.
The scribe noted that the FG established the scheme due to the alarming number of children that died during pregnancy and before age five.
According to him, the incessant deaths among this category of people have become a recurring decimal, as about 39,000 women died before the intervention of NHIS.
He called on Nigerians to avail themselves of health insurance as it offered best protection on health issues.
He said that 12 out of the 36 states of the federation had embraced community based health insurance programme, adding that efforts were on to encourage other states to key into it.
Thomas said 33,000 pregnant women had benefited from the scheme’s maternal/ newborn and child health programme in the first quarter of 2014, as opposed to the 11,000 that benefited in 2013.
NAN reports that the scheme had also inaugurated NHIS-MDG Users Satisfaction Survey (USS) to gauge the opinion of enrollees on areas for improvement.