By Binta S Jawo
On Thursday 5th May 2022, the Ministry of Health (MoH) inaugurated a new Board with oversight functions of coordinating the implementation of the first-ever National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in the Gambia.
Giving his inaugural speech, the Minister of Health Dr Ahmadou Samateh highlighted the importance of such a Board being formed in the health sector which should increase access to quality health services and promote social justice and equality. “Universal health care is one of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations and could act as an equalizer between the rich and the poor” Dr Samateh reiterated.
Minister Samateh hopes that the new Board is fully prepared to ensure accountability and efficiency of the Authority in the task ahead. He urged all stakeholders to deliver their duties effectively. He thanked their partners including the World Bank and the Ministry of Finance that contributed to the development of the NHIS in the Gambia.
The Board consists of eleven members of which the Chairman have already been appointed. There are six Ex-officio members that include: the Permanent Sectary at the MoH, Permanent Sectary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Director of Health Services at the MoH, Managing Director at Social Security and Housing Finance Cooperation, Commissioner of insurance and the Permanent Sectary at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare.
Four members are yet to be appointed which include: the Chief Executive Officer of the Board, Representative of the Health Professional Councils, Member of the National Health Insurance Scheme and Private Health Insurance Scheme.
The National Health Insurance Bill(NHIB) 2020, seeks to protect, promote and fulfil the right to Health care Services.