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19.02.2014 General News

CHRAJ to monitor NHIS to ensure good health, efficiency

By Caroline Boateng / Daily Graphic / Ghana
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The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) is set to monitor the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in its bid to ensure the realisation of good health for Ghanaians. For a start, the commission has held a retreat,  for its regional directors, where actions for the year were discussed, plans set and strategies for realising the objective drawn.

The regional directors will, in turn, meet with various district heads for the careful monitoring of hospitals,  and other health facilities,  as well as the workings of the NHIS at the most basic level in the communities, regions and the nation at large. Payment delays

These actions come at the heels of threats by some pharmacists to withhold their services because of delays in reimbursements by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).

The initiative to monitor compliance by duty bearers, however, was taken last year, after the commission surveyed some health facilities and found "inordinate delays in reimbursement of claims by the healthcare providers under the NHIS. Almost all the accredited NHIS institutions monitored had this major challenge."

The resolve by CHRAJ to make Ghanaians derive maximum benefit from the scheme  is also buttressed by the fact that statutory deductions are made on VAT for the running of the NHIS, imposing a duty on the government to ensure its smooth running.

A deputy commissioner of CHRAJ in  charge of Anti-corruption and Public Education, Mr Richard Quayson, and another deputy commissioner in  charge of Legal and Investigations, Mr Joseph Whittal, briefed the Daily Graphic about this effort. The charge

In its 2013 State of Human Rights (SoHR) in Ghana, CHRAJ charged the government and the NHIA to rectify the delays in the reimbursement of service providers under the scheme.

It also asked the NHIA to take steps within six months to ensure the payment of all outstanding arrears to service providers and, thereafter, ensure that outstanding claims did not exceed two months at any given time.

The commission, in the report presented on December 10, 2013, said it would review what had been done  by the duty bearers,  namely  the government and the NHIA, in six months from the time the SoHR was presented.

Also to be monitored within the period  are congestion in health facilities, health facility infrastructure and the treatment being given  patients in relation to the tariffs being paid to service providers.

This has become necessary because the commission has observed that the rising cost of treatment and incommensurate reimbursements are the causes of service providers holding back full service to patients. Objective

Although these are ambitious programmes, the commissioners said they would use available resources to push the effort, as the realisation of the right to health, education and other social and cultural rights were of priority.

They said in carrying out these exercises, CHRAJ was helping the state to realise its international obligations and commitments, while ensuring a "rights-based approach to governance."

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