The Moderator-elect of the E.P. Church, Ghana, Right Reverend Francis Amenu, on Wednesday urged Ghanaians to pray for the success of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
He said the scheme has brought big financial relief to many people who for the lack of money would not have been able to seek medical care.
Rt. Rev. Amenu was speaking at a ceremony during which the Church's Agenda 21 Project handed over renewed NHIS membership cards to 100 disabled persons and their dependants in the Ho Municipality, in Ho.
He said the Church through the Project decided last year to support the beneficiaries as its contribution to the success of the scheme and also to fulfil its Christian duty of bringing hope to the needy.
Rt. Rev. Amenu said the proposal to extend the NHIS renewal period from one year to five years as from 2009 was a major development in the operations of the scheme.
Mr. Prosper Pi-Bansah, the Municipal Manager of the Scheme, said poor quality service delivery and extortion of illegal fees from some clients at some designated health institutions, constituted challenges of the Scheme.
He urged members of the Scheme to demand explanations for fees charged at health institutions and draw the Scheme's attention to any such demands.
Mr. Charles Agboklu, Chairman of the Board of the Ho Municipal Mutual Health Insurance Scheme, and Co-ordinator of the Project, said that the law on the Scheme did not exempt the disabled from paying health insurance Premiums.
He said the National Federation of the Disabled could lobby Parliament on the issue of exemption of its members.
Mr. Agboklu said the dilemma, however, was that quite a number of the disabled might be gainfully employed, moreover the body representing the interest of the disabled people was by policy against handouts to its members.
He said for the sake of the most vulnerable among them, sponsorship could be sought to pay the premiums on their behalf.
Some of the beneficiaries expressed gratitude to Agenda 21 and the E.P. Church for their show of fellow feeling and love.
They lauded the NHIS and appealed to both the Scheme and the E.P. Church to extend their support to their colleagues who are also in dire need of support. They, however, drew attention to the need to pay attention to eradicating illegal fees, delays at the health facilities and poor quality care for those on health insurance.