MTN partners Salt & Einstein MTS, NHIS on insurance
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| July 22, 2014, 7:31 a.m.
By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
MTN Nigeria says it has partnered Salt & Einstein MTS and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NIHS) to help push health insurance to many people in the country leveraging on its wider reach.
Speaking during the flag-off of the pilot programme of the scheme in Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer of the telco, Michael Ikpoki, said the partnership is blazing the trail as the first in the country to do it.
He said the initiative is in line with the telco’s broader vision of bringing a bold digital world at the door steps of the subscribers touching their lives, adding that pursuing this goal requires innovation and new products.
According to him, the partnership was necessitated by the need to fill needs gap existing in the country’s insurance sector, stressing that affordable, accessible and cost-efficient scheme will be delivered to customers.
Former Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and chairman, Salt & Einstein MTS, Dr Ernest Ndukwe, said the real test of the project will be determined by the number of people that key into the scheme, adding that he sees a bright future for the success of the programme and urged consumers to embrace it.
Executive Secretary/CEO, NHIS, Dr Femi Thomas said it is the beginning of the digitalisation of health in the country, adding that the development will help drive Federal Government’s desire to deepen insurance penetration in the country.
Dr Thomas said operational guidelines of the initiative will be rolled out very soon after the official flag-off the programme by President Jonathan Goodluck, promising that other telcos will join the fray too.
He lamented that formal sector insurance stands at 3.5million people up from 2.3million it used to be in January this year while informal sector insurance figure stood at 1.5million, adding that the partnership will leapfrog health delivery and accelerate penetration.
He said the World Health Organisation (WHO) is no longer interested in making health delivery a patch-up affair but a universal phenomenon. He decried the approach of some state governments that describe their efforts in the health sector as “intervention.”
He added that the initiative will transform access and quality because payment for services wiil allow operators to put infrastructure and manpower in place.
He said the initiative is unique in that whenever an insured cannot pick the bill, the “adoption tree” will intervene and help pick the bill. This he added is in line with the culture of Africans being their brothers’ keeper
In his remarks, CEO, Salt & Einstein MTS, Lai Labode said though technology cannot solve all problems, it must always be deployed to solving emerging problems in the country.
He assured that the scheme will not go the way of mobile money which has received sluggish adoption by subscribers. According to him, the product has been designed specifically to address the peculiar challenge of the local market.