The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, has directed that all personnel and their families should be enrolled in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) under the Cantonment Medical Reception Station (MRS) to enable them access free medical care, adding that capitation depends on the number of persons enrolled. The COAS, who also promised to address the challenge of infrastructure deficit in the cantonment, said this while conducting an on-the-spot assessment of Nigerian Army units.
He assessed 231 Battalion and 331 Artillery Regiment in Abogo Largema Military Cantonment, Biu, Borno State. The respective Commanding Officers of the two units, Lieutenant Colonels Aliyu Garba and Muphtau Arilesere, gave the COAS a combined brief on the security situation in their area of responsibility, infrastructural status and challenges of the units. Amongst other areas of focus, the commanders stressed the need for increased capitation for the Cantonment MRS since it is serving both units.
Change to NHIA, its mandate is to attain UHC in Nigeria in 2030.
National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is a body set up by Decree 35 of 1999 (now Act 35) operating as Public Private Partnership and directed at providing accessible, affordable and qualitative healthcare for all Nigerians. Its mission is to mobilize and pool financial resources for strategic purchasing of affordable and quality health care for all Nigerians while also being committed to achieving financial access to this care for all Nigerians. Of course, its mandate is to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria by 2030.
On May 24, 2022, the scheme was officially gazetted by the Federal Government of Nigeria as the National Health Insurance Authority(NHIA). On May 19, 2022, the NHIA ACT was enacted by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The objectives of the Authority include: to promote, regulate and integrate health insurance schemes; to improve and harness private sector participation in the provision of health care services; and do other things that will assist the authority in achieving Universal Health Coverage to all Nigerians.
Benefits of personnel being enrolled in the Scheme.
As a part of the NHIS, personnel can enjoy all benefits that it offers. For instance, Army Command and NAOWA Hospital (Abuja) is an accredited hospital under the NHIS. Also, several HMOs such as Defence Health Maintenance Limited (DHML) use the hospital for their clients. Some of the benefits include: out-patient care, including necessary consumables; prescribed drugs, pharmaceutical care and diagnostic tests — as contained in the National Essential Drug List and Diagnostic Test List; maternity care for up to four (4) live births for every insured contributor/couple; preventive care, including immunization as it applies to the National Programme on Immunization, health education, family planning, antenatal and postnatal care; and more.
Meanwhile, in his address to officers and soldiers of the units, the COAS appreciated them for their service to the nation in ensuring peace and stability in their area of responsibility. He added that socio-economic activities have been restored in the general area. Lagbaja informed the troops of the Federal Government’s intervention in providing comfort to serving and deceased personnel as well as their families through the disbursement of funds to clear the backlog of beneficiaries of the group’s life insurance scheme and the Nigerian Army Personal Accident Assurance Scheme.
Lagbaja also visited more units, boosting troops’ morale.
Finally, he assured the troops that challenges of inadequate and dilapidated accommodation, as well as decaying infrastructure, are receiving earnest attention across formations and units of the Nigerian Army. He charged them to reciprocate the government’s interventions by remaining dedicated, disciplined and loyal to the constitution and government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The army Chief also visited 301 Artillery Regiment (Gombe) and 135 Special Forces Battalion (Buratai), where he addressed the troops and commended them for their gallantry. He urged them to remain unwavering and sustain the momentum of ongoing operations to ensure security.