We congratulate the Takoradi Metropolitan Office of the National Health Insurance Scheme for its strategy of taking the health insurance message to the doorsteps of the people in their catchment area.
As published in this paper yesterday, April 11, personnel of the Takoradi Mutual Health Insurance Scheme have been moving to the communities and markets in order to reach the people and educate them about the scheme.
Explaining the rationale for their strategy, an official of the office explained that some market women are too busy to go to the scheme’s office to register.
Not surprisingly, their visit to the market yielded a good harvest: 206 new clients and 107 renewals.
The obvious advantage of moving into the communities and markets is that the officials are able to explain the scheme in a relaxed manner, which is sure to be more acceptable to the target groups.
For their part, the target people are able to ask questions without the intimidating environment of an office. They are also able to listen to answers to questions others ask which may help them understand things better.
It has to be accepted that given the fact of high illiteracy, for a large segment of the population, new ideas and concepts are hard to understand or accept, through no fault of theirs.
The problem is made worse when such disadvantaged people are required to call at offices for services or participate in initiatives which they can barely grasp.
Thus, although it is true that market women are generally too busy to leave their wares to go to the registration office, it is very likely that it is fear of offices and officialdom that is keeping many people away, thus denying them of the huge benefits of the insurance scheme.
We commend the Takoradi Metropolitan Office of the scheme for their pragmatic approach and hope that other schemes will emulate their example.
There will surely come a time when the National Health Insurance will be so much a part of every household in this country that nobody will need to be persuaded to join it.
However, that time is still far off and until then, it will need down-to-earth methods, such as the Takoradi Metropolitan one, to get more and more people to understand health insurance and join the scheme.