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29.12.2003 Health

Bawku holds forum on Health Insurance Scheme

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Bawku (U/E), Dec 29, GNA- Participants at a day's forum on mutual health insurance at Bawku in the Upper East Region have urged the government to address discrepancies that exist in workers' SSNIT contributions to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to ensure equity and fairness.

They argued that the deduction of 2.5 per cent is unfair, since salary levels are not the same for all workers in the country. The participants said workers who do not contribute to the SSNIT fund might have undue advantage, as they may pay lower than their counterparts who contribute to the Trust.

They urged labour unions not to be antagonistic towards government in the implementation of the Scheme, adding that they should rather embrace it in the interest of workers' welfare.

Participants also called for the non-politicisation of the scheme, saying that the lives of workers and their dependants should not be sacrificed for political expediency.

The participants asked the government to explain how the self-employed could effectively contribute to the scheme. The Bawku Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Abdul-Rahman Gumah, said a mutual health insurance scheme for the area is long overdue, considering the deteriorating health status of the people.

He said the "cash and carry system", coupled with the poverty levels in the area, have had adverse effects on the health status of the people, and said the NHIS would address the problems of healthcare delivery in the country.

Mr Gumah said the Assembly would support the scheme to ensure its success.

The District Co-ordinator of Mutual Health Organisations, Mr John Abugri, said a 15-member task force has been established to carry out community sensitisation programmes and that indications confirmed that the people in the area are in support of the scheme.

He said 80 volunteer corps from various parts of the district had also been trained to ensure the smooth take-off of the scheme next year. Mr Abugri thanked the Presbyterian Health Service for donating 80 million cedis as seed money for the scheme.

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