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By NBF News

The Federal Governemnt has  approved the inclusion of military retirees and their immediate families in the National Health Insurance Scheme's (NHIS).

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) gave the approval at its meeting yesterday chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Part of the approval is the sum of N3.6billion per annum in the first year for the defence health maintenance organisation.

Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, who disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents in the company of Minister of State for Defence, Olusola Obada after the FEC meeting, said that the decision was taken after the recommendation of the technical sub-committee set up by ministries of Finance and Health on the matter remarked that the scheme would   boost the morale of serving officers and men.

Recalling that the scheme was initiated by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration in 2001, he said the committee had argued that the non-inclusion of retirees in the NHIS would negatively affect the moral and dampen the enthusiasm of those still in service, with adverse security implications for the country.

The non-inclusion, Maku said, was posing a challenge in the military health facilities as the retirees continue to troop to the hospitals to seek free medical care as stipulated in the armed forces harmonised terms and condition of service.

He noted that 75,000 military retirees would flag off the project  for which N3.6 billion had been earmarked, noting that, just like what was obtainable with the civil service, the Navy, Airforce and Army, personnel and their spouses as well as four of their children under the age of 18 would be beneficiaries of the scheme.

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