The Minister of Health, Major Courage E K Quashigah (rtd) has announced that children under 18 years are to access quality health care free under the National Health Insurance Scheme.
He said, President J A Kufuor had decided to decouple the registration of children under 18 years under the NHIS, saying children will remain exempted from paying premiums and would be registered in spite of the registration status of their parents.
The health minister said the National Health Insurance Authority will collaborate with the Ghana Education Service to register children when schools re-open.
Again, under the NHIS, President Kufuor has declared free maternal service for all pregnant women living in Ghana. This follows a £42.5 million grant by the British Government.
The policy is aimed at reducing maternal mortality ratio by three quarters before 2015. "The programme has already taken off smoothly and pregnant women are current receiving the service," according to the Health Minister.
Ante natal, delivery and post natal care expenses of maternal mothers will all be covered under the policy. The new policy will facilitate access to free and quality maternal delivery services to all mothers.
The health minister, who announced this at the official commissioning of an ultra modern hospital for the people of Gushegu and its environs in the Northern Region, urged women especially pregnant women to take advantage of the new policy initiative aimed at reducing maternal mortality in the country.
The GH¢ 24 million hospital was completed ahead of schedule by Messrs Vamed B.V of Netherlands and JESCAN construction Ltd. It has 2 operation suites, 4 Wards (male, female, maternity and pediatrics), 64 beds (Male 16, Female 16, Maternity 12, Pediatrics 16 and Recovery 3) and 15 bodied mortuary.
Maj Quashigah said the hospital is designed to provide outpatient and in-patient care, medical and surgical services, obstetric and delivery services, accident and emergency services, and dental treatment and prosthetics. The minister hinted that, the new Gushegu hospital will also serve as training centre for medical students.
The minister therefore called on the management of the hospital and the people in the district to establish a planned preventive maintenance programme, "as this is the only way we can ensure that the hospital continues to be beneficial to people of Gushegu and indeed the entire nation".
While thanking the Dutch Government for providing the funds providing loan and grant for the hospital project, on behalf of the Ministry of Health appealed to the Dutch Government to fund the rehabilitation of the Tamale Teaching Hospital.
The minister hinted that, the new Gushegu hospital will also serve as training centre for medical students.
Peter Hallbauer, Managing Director of Vamed Group commended the Ghana government for paying much attention to the health of its people through the continuous improvement of the health care system.