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15.03.2007 General News

7,400 NHIS Cards Owners Can’t Be Traced

By Clement Atagra

Over 7,400 people, who registered in the Accra metropolis under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) mass registration exercise last year, cannot be located by the share managers.

Ras Boateng, Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Council (NHIC), who made this known in Accra on Tuesday, said this means that although such persons qualify for free medical care under the scheme, they cannot benefit because they do not have their ID cards.

Mr. Boateng, who was speaking to the Times after a press conference to update the media on the state of the scheme, said he could not tell immediately how many people registered under the special exercise which was intended to whip up public interest in the scheme following the poor response to the registration in the metropolis.

He said although the council is not responsible for registration and issuance of ID cards, it has been involved in trying to locate the missing registered members using different approaches but all to no avail.

Among other things, he said the council went round to collect the backlog of cards at the various sub-metros and mounted an intensive campaign to announce that the cards were ready for collection.

Again the cards were dropped at vantage points and their owners directed through public announcement to collect them but that did not also yield any positive results.

As a last resort, the council has contracted an IT team to sort the cards out and collect the names so that they will be published to facilitate the process of identifying the rightful owners, Mr. Boateng said, explaining that 'when the people are identified, new cards will be issued to those whose cards have less than one year to expire.'

He told the press conference that a total of 7,673,998 people have so far registered with NHIS nationwide. This figure represents 38 per cent of the population.

He said out of the number, 1,281,525 are yet to be issued with ID cards which are now being printed.