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29.04.2004 Regional News

NHIS gives money to district assemblies for its take off

By GNA

Accra, April 29, GNA- Dr Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Health on Thursday said the National Health Insurance (NHIS) Secretariat has begun distributing monies allocated for the take off of the scheme in the various districts in the country.

He said 109 districts with the exception of the Keta District Assembly have received their share of the 40.6 billion cedis government released from the HIPIC funds for the setting up of the district mutual health in the 110 districts and sub-metropolitan areas. Dr Afriyie said this when he addressed stakeholders meeting to review the draft legislative instrument of the NHIS (Act 650), which defines the standards of operation within the health insurance regulatory framework.

The review was to enable stakeholders make additional contributions to the drafting to bring it to an acceptable standard for all. The Health Minister noted that monies disbursed ranged from 200 to 350 million cedis adding that the distribution was based on population of the district.

The Keta District Assembly was not able to receive its share because of an alleged misunderstanding over representation. He said the disbursement of the monies was meant to help bridge the gap between the payment of premiums from contributors to the scheme and funding for the poor, who might not be able to pay their premium. Types of health insurance schemes that could be established and operated in the country are mutual health insurance schemes, social health insurance schemes and private health insurance schemes.

The official take off of the scheme would be in October, this year. The average Ghanaian is expected to pay a premium of 6,000 cedis per month and a total of 72,000 cedis per year whilst the rich is expected to pay more than that.

Dr Afriyie said the 2.5 per cent deduction from the 17.5 per cent contribution of workers in the formal sectors to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) fund was a painless way of contribution which would free the health budget of each individual and rather increase their disposable income.

He urged stakeholders to actively participate in the review meeting so that they could come out with a well-improved document that would be technically sound and acceptable to all.

Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Deputy Minister of Finance who presided, cautioned stakeholders that the whole world was watching the outcome of the implementation of the scheme to find out how successful the scheme would be. 29 April 04

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