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30.10.2008 Health

Fire personnel to enjoy NHIS

By gna

Personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) have been assured of government's preparedness to hook them to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to enable them access free medical care.

Mr Felix Ferkah, Chief Fire Officer of the GNFS who announced this on Thursday said government has indicated its willingness to register all personnel in the service for the NHIS.

Currently personnel of the Service pay their own medical bills whenever they visit the public health facilities for medical examination after the discharge of their duties during a fire outbreak.

Mr Ferkah stated however that until government implements its intentions, personnel should register for the scheme to avoid spending on accessing quality health care.

He was speaking at a durbar of fire officers at the Tema Regional Fire Service Headquarters when the Fire Service Council paid a familiarization visit to the region.

The Chief Fire Officer, who is a member of the Council further said efforts were being made by the Council to upgrade the Fire Clinic at the Fire Academy and Training School (FATS) to a medical centre to be manned by a medical doctor.

Mr Ferkah urged the personnel to intensify their fire safety education campaign with the public and institutions in the region to help minimize the incident of fire outbreaks in the country.

He also entreated personnel to regularly upgrade themselves in addition to the training and refresher courses the service organizes for them to enable them to discharge their duties professionally.

Mr. Kwabena Taah Korang, Tema Regional Fire Officer in a welcoming address named the Metro, Ashaiman, Industrial, Dodowa and Ada Fire stations as the five district station under the region.

Mr Korang observed that the region which has 342 personnel responded to 178 fire calls between January and September this year compared to the 221 calls it responded to during the same period in 2007.

He attributed the decrease in fire outbreaks in the region to the numerous community fire safety educations and safety lectures his outfit organized for corporate institutions.

He added that the intensification of fire safety inspections and closure of companies without fire certificate in the region also contributed meaningfully to the reduction.

The regional fire officer noted that in their quest to project the corporate image of the service, the Tema Regional Fire Command organized a safety week which was climaxed with an open day to sensitize the people of Ashaiman to appreciate the importance of the Service in order for them to desist from vandalizing their properties.

Mr Korang pleaded with the Council and management of the GNFS to help the regional service with some of its old engines, noting that all the engines in the region were virtually non-functional.

He indicated that the region has five engines out of which two were functioning; two were being tested after being repaired and one not functioning.

Nana Frimpong Anokye Ababio, Chairman of the Council said the Council has formulated a five-year strategic plan for the service to help streamline its operations.

Nana Ababio also said the newly reconstituted Council which took office in March last year has also formed the Finance and Welfare Committee as well as the Legal and Operations committee to handle the budgeting and monitoring of the service's operations respectively.