NHIS inaugurates committee to address drug supply


By Cecilia Ologunagba
Abuja, Aug. 19, 2020 The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has inaugurated a Drug Supply Implementation Committee to eliminate challenges associated with the supply and quality of drugs in the implementation of health insurance in Nigeria.

The NHIS Head of Media and Public Relations, Ayo Osinlu, said this in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja.

Osinlu stated that the Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof. Mohammed Sambo, inaugurated the committee at the corporate head office of the organisation in Abuja.

Sambo then said that the event was a follow up to the strategic stakeholders’ engagement with pharmaceutical manufacturers and companies, which took place in Abuja in October 2019.

The NHIS boss added that “the highly fruitful engagement was part of the several platforms for the facilitation of the on-going reforms in the agency.’’

He described the supply of drugs as not only central, but critical to the success of any healthcare delivery system.

He said “it is for this reason that our reform agenda mainstreamed the identification and resolution of drug-related gaps and challenges under the NHIS.

“The quality and supply of drugs are not only crucial to the achievement of the mandate of NHIS, but have far-reaching implications on the status of any country’s health sector.”

He, therefore, charged the committee to pay close attention to factors that would engender availability, acceptability and accessibility of drugs.

“The committee should also pay close attention to affordability and high quality drugs.

“They should also pay attention to the quality of drugs in relation to the needs of health-seeking enrollees of NHIS, as part of the ultimate objective of improving the quality of life of Nigerians.’’

To achieve this, Sambo highlighted the terms of reference of the committee, which included to produce guidelines for the implementation of branding of drugs and products under NHIS, developing a monitoring and evaluation framework, outline the process for the distribution of drugs, among others.

The expected outcomes of the work of the committee, besides production of NHIS- branded drugs, is adequate supply of drugs that will put an end to out-of-stock syndrome in healthcare facilities.

The committee is expected to ensure high quality drugs that will inspire the confidence of users and achievement of drug security in the system.

Stakeholders at the event applauded the reform initiative of the Sambo administration in NHIS, describing it as high in quality and comprehensive in scope.

They applauded the executive secretary initiative in reference to the sacrificial and focused leadership provided, not only for NHIS, but the entire Nigerian health insurance ecosystem.

The stakeholders made references to the results of the reforms, which included the finalisation of the reaccreditation of HMOs, the confidence- building reconciliation of debts owed providers by the HMOs.

Membership of the broad-based committee is drawn from critical stakeholders, including the Federal Ministries of Health, Finance and Industry and Trade and Investment.

Others are the National Forum of Commissioners for Health, Forum of CEOs of State Social Health Insurance Agencies, Committee of CMDs/MDs of tertiary health institutions, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria, NAFDAC, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), among others.

Also, represented on the committee are the Nigeria Customs Service, as well as staff of the Programmes, Planning as well as Standards and Quality Assurance Departments of NHIS.