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25.09.2003 General News

GEA calls for support for NHIS

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Accra, Sept 25, GNA- Mr. Ato Ampiah, President of the Ghana Employers Association (GEA) on Thursday appealed to stakeholders involved the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and employees and workers to act with restraint and flexibility to make the scheme a reality.

He said, "there is no doubt that the interface would bring its problems and misunderstanding, but that is the nature of every active human institution. Therefore, I wish that the use of tri and bipartisan instruments could be used to resolve the matter."

The National Health Insurance Scheme Bill has been met with criticism from some minority parties, especially the NDC as well as the Trade Union Congress (TUC), which has rejected the government's initiative to support the scheme with two-and- a half percent of workers contribution to the SSNIT Pension Scheme.

Mr Ampiah was delivering his address at the 43rd Annual General Meeting of the GEA said the GEA contributed to the recently passed NHIS Law by sending memoranda to the Ministry of Health following several meetings with its members to solicit their views.

"The Association's intervention was timely and resulted in the deletion of some compulsory levies on employers that were part of the Bill," he said.

He, however, cautioned workers should rather be concerned about the effect of HIV/AIDS on the SSNIT Pension Scheme as workers would die prematurely in an epidemic and abnormally increase claims.

Mr Ampiah said: "HIV/AIDS is a major threat to industrial organizations and businesses in terms of loss of manpower, absenteeism, health expenditure, loss of skills and reduced productivity.

"Businesses must, therefore, respond to this pandemic as a standard business practice- A healthy worker is a productive worker and a responsible employer seeks the employee's mental, social, and physical well-being."

Vice President Aliu Mahama, who opened the meeting, said the government was committed to ensuring that Ghanaians had access to quality health care, hence the National Health Insurance Law. He asked the employers to study the provisions of the law and help in educating workers on it's positive aspect to encourage active participation in the scheme.

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