The Takoradi Sub-Metro Mutual Health Insurance Scheme is facing serious accommodation problem. This has become an impediment to its smooth operations.
The scheme's office is located on the second floor of a storey building on the Liberation Road. There is something fundamentally wrong with the stairs leading to the offices and in most instances clients especially the aged tumble on their way up to the office to transact business.
That aside, the registration office and the membership card issuing section of the scheme are not housed in the main building. They are located on the corridors that serve other offices in the same building.
When this reporter got to the offices of the scheme, the registration officer and clients who had gone there to register to join the scheme were transacting business in the scorching sun and sweating profusely.
When contacted, the Scheme Manager, Mr Kwamina Takyi Arthur, admitted the problems and said the biggest challenge facing them was the size of their office and its location.
He said the office was not spacious enough to contain all the staff and the teeming clients that besieged the premises daily.
He said there was the need to expand the office accommodation or acquire a more spacious apartment where they would have a place for their clients to sit comfortably while they waited for their turn to be registered.
"Even my registration officer and those who issue cards to the clients are outside the main building and when it rains work has to come to a standstill. During a sunny day they have to keep shifting their desks from one spot to the other to enable them to attend to clients.
He said currently, the scheme paid more than GH¢7,OOO as rent and the next bill was due in April and expressed the hope that the authorities would take into account the space constraints to enable them to secure a more spacious place for staff of the scheme.
"I feel so sad for the aged, who sometimes tumble just because they want to access our facilities or get registered for the first time. The problems are enormous and there is the need to find a solution to them. The only one we managed to take care of was the issue of people coming to the office to collect their Health Facility Attendance Cards, " Mr Kwamina Takyi Arthur said.
He explained that when patients sent the cards to the designated health facilities in the metropolis, the card was not returned to the scheme immediately.
They were only returned when the service providers were submitting their claims when a member was required to present the card at his or her next visit.
"Therefore we have designed a booklet for our clients for which 50Gp is paid and which they can use throughout the year,” the scheme manager said.
Asked if there was any way they could ensure that the clients did not cheat the system when they paid the 50Gp he said "we have designed it in a way that one cannot duplicate it and even that the cost of doing the duplication alone is likely to be more than the cost of getting a new booklet".
He said another reason why they had to design the new booklet instead of the card was that the policy holder did not need to return to the scheme's office to pick another card, as the booklet would serve them throughout the year.
Mr Arthur said beneath the booklet, there was a strict instruction to the service providers to reject photocopies or forms that were not signed or stamped from the office of the scheme.
He took the opportunity to call on policy holders to read the instructions and directions contained in their membership cards to save them coming to the office when the answers to the questions they were looking for were right in the card.
He said the scheme members could attend more than 16 health facilities including the Takoradi Government Hospital, the Kwesimintsim, Effia Nkwanta Regional, Essikado Polyclinic and the Seventh Day Adventist Negal Clinic Danvic and Helier Clinics etc. The health facilities were supported by more than 18 pharmacy and chemical shops in cases where prescription was issued.