20.07.2006 Social News

NHIS Inaccessible To Many In Poor Communities

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A total of 92 per cent of respondents say they can not afford the 72,000 cedis premium of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), a Research by PRONET, an NGO, in the Jirapa/Lambussie District of the Upper West Region, has said.

The findings made known at a forum attended by some District Health Directors and Managers of the Scheme in the region at Wa on Wednesday, indicated that the attitude of Health personnel to patients at hospitals and clinics did not encourage people to join the scheme.

The Study, which focused on people with disabilities, widows at Siigri and Lambussie, members of the Blind Association and indigents in five communities of the District.

It showed that 11,583 people had registered under the scheme in the District but cost of services at health facilities soared after the take-off of the Insurance apparently because it was believed that there was a large pool of money to draw from.

Another study by "Radio Progress", a community FM station in Wa with the same objectives in the Municipality also came out with similar findings.

Both Studies were sponsored by DFID under its, "Rights and Voices Initiative"(RAVI), aimed at fostering citizen and government engagement and promoting the voices of the poor and the marginalized in the society.

In an address read on his behalf, Mr Ambrose Dery, Upper West Regional Minister, stated that there was no better alternative to the Mutual Health Insurance Scheme and said problems in its implementation should be seen as a challenge for all stakeholders to eliminate.

The government alone could not cope with the problems of the country, the Regional Minister said and called for the assistance of NGOs, Religious and social groups to ensure the successful implementation of NHIS.

He commended the organisations for undertaking the research, he described as "valuable" for its contribution towards the realisation of the government's vision of health for all by the year 2015, contained in the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy document.

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