NHIS Admonishes South Sudan on Need for Health Insurance

L-R) Amb. Jacquiline Natepi (Republic of South Sudan Embassy in Abuja), Dr. Reik Gai Kok (Minister of Health, South Sudan), Prof. Usman Yusuf (ES/CEO NHIS), Dr. Maicur Variom (Permanent Secretary, South Sudan), Hajiya A’smau Mohammed (GM Planning Research and Monitoring, NHIS).

The Executive Secretary of Nigeria’s National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Usman Yusuf, has advised the South Sudanese government to set up a similar Scheme in their country.

Professor Usman gave the advice while addressing delegation from the Ministry of Health of the Republic of South Sudan led by its Minister, Dr. Reik Gai Kok, to his office in Abuja.

According to Prof. Yusuf “enormous financial resources do not translate into automatic good health sector. So you must be prudent in all you do”.

He advocated for a strong pooling system where ‘’the rich will subsidize for the poor, the healthy for the sick, the strong for the aged and weak’’, adding that ‘’health insurance, more than any other agency of the government has the potential to change lives of the ordinary people for good.’’

Responding, the South Sudanese Minister of Health, Dr. Reik Gai Kok reiterated the support his country has been receiving from Nigeria over the years.

He commended NHIS for an insight into the operations of a health insurance scheme, adding that this would guide his country in the formulation of its own health insurance policy.

On the entourage is Ambassador Jacqueline Natepi of the Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan and Maicur Variom, the Permanent Secretary, South Sudanese Ministry of Health and a host of others.

History of NHIS

Nigeria’s NHIS was officially launched in 2005 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, with a mandate to enlist at least 70 per cent of Nigerians by the end of 2010.

It currently provides health insurance cover for about four per cent of Nigerians, mainly those in the formal sector (civil servants), and has ambitions targets of enrolling nearly 40million Nigerians before the end of this year.

The employer pays 10 per cent while the employee pays five per cent, representing 15 per cent of the employee’s basic salary.  The contributions paid cover healthcare benefits for the employee, a spouse and four biological children below the age of 18 years. More dependents or a child above the age of 18 could be covered on the payment of additional contributions by the principal beneficiary.


Rafat Salami