16.09.2004 Regional News

Educate public on basic hygiene - Maafo

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Accra. Sept. 16, GNA - A member of the National Health Insurance Council on Thursday called for more education on basic hygiene and diseases prevention among the populace in order to sustain the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Dr John K. Kwakye Maafo noted that the causes of most disease emanated from unhygienic conditions that many people found themselves in and called on churches, societies and clubs to assist in the campaign against filth and prevention of some diseases.

Speaking at the opening of a two-day workshop for health care providers on the operations of NHIS when it starts in November he noted that the frequency of avoidable diseases might drain the NHIS. Dr Kwakye, a past president of the Ghana Medical Association, stated that under the NHIS, prescription of exotic drugs would not be entertained and urged advised health care providers to prescribe generic drugs that were in line with the Essential Drug List. Topics to be discussed include "Understanding health Insurance Schemes," "Linking patients information", "Negligence, ethical and legal issues", "Renovation and modernization of health facilities for insurance".

Dr Kwakye recounted successive government efforts in introducing health insurance as a health financing mechanism saying that there were a number of challenges facing the NHIS. These include proper documentation of history, diagnosis, treatment and management of clients, fraudulent deals in the insurance industry, clean hospital premises and proper supervision of nurses and other paramedical staff. Dr Kwakye said with the implementations of the NHIS, patients would expect quality health care delivery adding. "The medical practitioner's relationship with patients is a contract and if the medical practitioner fails to apply the requisite care and skill then he is in breach of that contract. "A failure to exercise reasonable care and skill can amount to negligence of the practitioner and the he faces disciplinary proceedings of the regulatory body."

He said one way of meeting the challenges "is for the medical practitioner/ health care providers to update their knowledge by taking part of Medical and Dental Council and other programmes periodically". Dr Sam Adjei, Deputy Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), said the service was the biggest insurance provider in the country and urged members to be prepared for the implementation of the NHIS. Dr Adjei said when the NHIS became operational, patients would expect quality health care and rapid response to emergency cases and modern services.

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