By Moses Emorinken, Abuja
The Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme. Prof Mohammed Nasir Sambo, has again 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.
According to a statement by the Head of Media and Public Relations, Ayo Osinlu, Prof. Sambo made the assertion while handing over a consignment of Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) to the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Umar Abba Mohammed, in Abuja.
Sambo commended the strategies and initiatives being deployed by the nation through the Federal Ministry of Health, Presidential Task Force on COVlD-19 and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), to protect 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 pre-disposes 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 gesture to personnel of healthcare providers through the government of some states in the country with high burden of COVID-19.
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 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 sustenance of the push against the virus.
According to him, “the best vaccine against the virus for now is wear a mask, wash your hands, use hand sanitiser and observe social distancing.”
In his remarks, the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Umar Abba Mohammed, expressed the agency’s appreciation to the PTF for midwifing 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 same to NHIS, while giving assurance to continue to pursue vigorously further fund recovery for the Scheme.