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Health Minister Refutes Media Reports on New HMO for Civil Servants

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The Minister of Health, Muhammad Ali Pate, has refuted recent media reports suggesting that a new Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) exclusively for civil servants has been launched by the Federal Government.

“Very surprised to see this announcement on a matter that is far from being concluded,” the Minister stated in a statement he issued on his X.com handle @muhammadpate.

The minister said Tinubu administration was committed to expanding the health sector for all Nigerians, not just a select few.

The Minister emphasized that the government’s primary focus is on comprehensive reforms of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), aiming to extend coverage beyond the current 7% of the population—approximately 16 million Nigerians—who have been covered over the past two decades.

The reforms, he added, were designed to benefit all Nigerians, particularly the poor and vulnerable, rather than solely focusing on federal civil servants.

“Efforts to reform the NHIA are being undermined by those who previously hindered progress on health insurance,” the Minister continued. “These forces are now attempting to derail ongoing reforms for narrow, short-term interests,” he aid.

Pate called on all proponents of the new HMO project to pause and carefully consider the broader implications of their actions in disseminating wrong information to the public.

He stressed the importance of not conflating power with knowledge and urged stakeholders to engage constructively with the ongoing NHIA reforms.

“Urging all involved to carefully consider the implications of undermining Nigeria’s progress on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for narrow and very short-term interests,” the Minister said.

According to the minister, the reforms under the NHIA were set to expand health coverage for civil servants, including through the establishment of a properly regulated Federal Civil Service HMO.

Contrary to reports, he added, the Federal Government had not rolled out a new HMO exclusively for civil servants, rather, it was working on a broader plan to enhance healthcare delivery across the nation. 

The Minister reiterated that the initiatives would align with the ongoing NHIA reforms to ensure they contribute positively to the overarching goal of universal health coverage.

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