The Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof Mohammed Sambo had stated some levels of cancer surgeries and chemotherapy are now covered under the Scheme. Prof Sambo made this known while receiving the First Lady of Kebbi State, Dr Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, who was on a working visit to NHIS head office in Abuja Wednesday. He expressed concern about the high prevalence of cancer, noting that NHIS will continue to explore ways of working with public-spirited organisations and individuals to increase support to cancer patients.
He expressed delight that the Scheme seized the opportunity to review its operational guidelines in 2012 to remove cancer from the exclusion list of its benefits package.
The ES said, innovative healthcare financing will open up resources for effective support for patients with capital-intensive conditions, such as cancer.
He however called on governmental and non-governmental organisations involved in creating awareness about cancer and building support for cancer patients to intensify advocacy to the appropriate authorities and institutions, for the institutionalisation of innovative healthcare financing, such as special taxes on smoking and telecommunication, with proceeds dedicated to funding healthcare for the vulnerable among us, as well as cancer patients. Prof Sambo commended Dr Shinkafi-Bagudu, who is also the founder of Medicaid Cancer Foundation, for the enormous work she has done selflessly and tirelessly over the years, by pushing so hard to help in taming the scourge of cancer while expressing the commitment of NIHS to work with the First Lady and her Foundation to ensure that cancer does not subdue humanity in our environment.
Dr Shinkafi-Bagudu requested the support of NHIS in the various activities of the Foundation in the areas of creating awareness, cancer screening, support for victims and advocacy. She expressed regret that most patients of cancer do not have the economic capacity to help themselves, which is the challenge we must all accept and rise up to confront, noting that together we can do much.