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The Management and staff of Defence Health Maintenance Limited [DHML], has recently embarked on Monitory and Evaluation programme in order to ensure quality assurance on all Armed Forces and registered civil healthcare facilities in line with NHIS guidelines from the 29th October to 9th November 2018.

 To ensure quality assurance, staff of the organization inspected infrastructures, personnel  services and equipment holdings in all Armed Forces and selected registered civilian health care facilities across the length and breadth of the country.

The exercise was conducted simultaneously in all Armed Forces and selected civilian healthcare facilities in the 36 states of the Federation including the Federal capital territory.

Prior to this, a three [3] day awareness exercise was organized for the staff in order to orientate and prepare them on how the programme is to be carried out.

Some of the advantages of the programme is to ensure continuous monitoring of health care providers and enabling the HMO easy access for such monitoring.  It also enables enrollees to interact properly among themselves which enhances a better understanding about the scheme and helps in achieving universal health coverage.

However, the enrollees are the primary focus in the programme in order to ensure they get free and standard health care facilities. Monitoring of health care providers also ensures adequate delivery of services by the health care providers.

M&E is usually carried out in two ways; quarterly, in every year and through spot checks,  where, unannounced visit is paid to health care facilities, to inspect their man power, service delivery, equipments holding etc.

Furthermore, M&E is part of the vital tool through which DHML achieves its objectives. Other ways includes regular disbursements of funds and materials to the health care providers, bringing together the health care resources of the Nigeria Army, Nigeria Navy and Nigeria Air force and complimenting it with a network of civilian healthcare facilities and professionals, and; thirdly is to ensure regular monitoring and evaluation of those health care facilities.

 During the programme, staff educated the enrollees on the accessibility to health care facilities, which brought about a face to face communicaton between the HMO and the enrollees.  Enrollees were also enlightened on the standard of treatment guidelines under the NHIS, the scope of coverage, funding under the scheme, what DHML as an HMO is all about, what the NHIS is and the link between NHIS and DHML.

In an exclusive interview with the M&E Head of Department, Dr. Oladipo Oladeji, He stated that 215 HCPs were visited, 207 HCPs quality of service were assessed to be satisfactory, all HCPs under DHML network are NHIS accredited, DHML will only partner with HCPs that meet the minimum standard of delivering quality health care services and DHML will revoke any HCP that fails to deliver quality health care services.

He added that ways in which the scheme can be improved is having a better health information management system whereby creating an online feedback mechanism where enrollees all over the country can easily send their complains, by also increasing the awareness and sensitization campaign to get other health facilities informed about the scheme and also ensuring accredited health care facilities have adequate drugs in store for their enrollees.

 M&E enabled the HMO gain full knowledge of what ever challenges that might be confronting the enrollees, which is usually accomplished through the use of questionnaires. Questionnaires were randomly distributed to enrollees to fill in and express whatever challenges they might be facing with the health care facilities, this however, endeavors a proper and accurate feedback on how best to improve the scheme.

In conclusion, M&E/enrollees enlightenment campaign of DHML HCP, personnel and their dependants has continuously sensitized both the enrollees and HCPs under DHML network on the NHIS operational guidelines and this has greatly improved the quality of healthcare service delivery.

Moreover, the absence of M&E will bring about a terrible effect which will have dare consequences on the enrollees because through regular monitoring of healthcare facilities, there wouldn’t be incessant pressure from the HMO to ensure they meet up with the standard set by NHIS. Thereby, the enrollees will be ignorant of their rights and benefits.

Also, there wouldn’t be a means of accessing and evaluating the progress of  healthcare providers.