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17.02.2009 Health

Politics creeps into NHIS…As NDC members fight for positions


DESPITE several attempts by management and stakeholders of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to downplay political influence and exert its position as a non-political scheme, investigations conducted by The Chronicle reveals that politics is rearing its ugly head into the operations of the system.

Information available to the paper indicates that some members of the current government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) are making frantic efforts to get their names enlisted in the Managerial and Board echelons of the scheme, particularly in some districts where the scheme is properly functioning.

A reliable source at one of the mutual schemes in the region, who pleaded anonymity, told the paper that ever since the President issued an official directive dissolving all Boards of government institutions, a number of sympathizers of the ruling party have been trooping to the offices of the scheme to find out if there are opportunities available for them.

The source told the paper that even though a directive had been issued by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to all scheme managers to dissolve all boards at the district levels, some of them feel reluctant to officially inform their board members to that effect.

Even though board meetings at the district levels have been suspended while District Co-ordinating Directors have given the oversight responsibility of monitoring scheme managers, members of boards of directors do not know their fate since they have not been officially informed about the dissolution or termination of their appointments.

Reports indicate that notwithstanding this development, certain influential members of the NDC have been bulldozing their way through in an effort to get their names enlisted on the board, after the eventual dissolution.

Meanwhile, the fate of scheme managers are also in a limbo, as the operations of the scheme gradually assume a political dimension, with some of them likely to face the sack.

This development, coupled with the pledge by the current government to implement one-time premium health insurance policy during its electioneering campaign, according to our source, is posing serious challenges to the running of the scheme in some areas of the country.

Investigations by the paper further indicated that unless new boards are reconstituted or the current ones are allowed to continue their duties, the scheme faces very serious threats of surviving, particularly in the rural areas, where education and campaign have almost stopped.