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27.01.2005 Regional News

NHIS runs into problems

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Takoradi, Jan. 27 GNA- The implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in the Shama Ahanta East Metropolis, is likely to delay, due to the poor coding of houses, the lack of office accommodation and the low level of awareness among residents about the Scheme.

Investigations conducted by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Effiakuma; Anaji; Namibia; Kansaworodu; Westline, Tadisco and Effiakuma Zongo indicates that these communities have not been coded making it impossible for the people to be registered for the NHIS, which is expected to become operational in April this year.

Mr Kingsley Mensah, NHIS Manager for the Takoradi Sub-Metropolitan Office told the GNA in an interview at Takoradi on Thursday that wrong coding of houses could create severe problems for the scheme. "We have received reports about the poor and uncompleted house coding in some communities."

Mr Mensah said each member of NHIS needed 13-digit coding that includes street or community code, house code, household number and household status.

He said the NHIS lacked digital cameras and other equipment to facilitate the production of identification cards.

Mr Mensah said although the Takoradi Sub-Metropolitan Office of the NHIS had registered 3,000 people, it was yet to collect the premium expected to qualify the contributors for medical care.

He said the Act 350 of the NHIS said: "A person seeking membership of a district mutual health insurance scheme, shall as a prior condition for membership pay the membership contribution determined by the scheme in accordance with guidelines provided by the NHIS Council".

Mr Franklin K. Blankson, NHIS Manager for Shama Sub-Metropolitan Office said lack of office accommodation was hampering operations.

He said so far 1,300 people have registered with the scheme but none of them have paid their premiums due to lack of office space. He said only three out of the 11 premium collectors recruited by the scheme were still at post.

Ms Aba Walters, Public Relations Manager of the Sekondi Sub-Metro of the scheme said so far 9,000 people have registered in Sekondi and surrounding areas.

She said unavailability of an office and other logistics had slowed down the registration process at Sekondi.

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