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06.06.2005 Health

Minister of Health urges DCEs to led NHIS crusade

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Accra, June 6, GNA - The Ministry of Health on Monday launched an appeal to District and Metropolitan Chief Executives, Assembly members, traditional authorities and religious bodies to actively participate in the promotion of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

"We need the holistic participation of the entire social and political leadership at all levels to ensure the smooth take-off and success of the scheme...the districts assemblies involvement would accelerate the processing of the scheme," Mr. Samuel Owusu-Agyie Deputy Minister of Health told newsmen in Accra.

Mr Owusu-Agyie who was speaking after touring some districts in the Central Region to asses progress of the registration said the promotion, implementation and management of the scheme require a multi-sector approach that the district assemblies, traditional authorities and religious bodies are best structured for.

He expressed concern about delays in some districts and noted: "all districts are expected to complete all registration, collection of premiums, issuing of Identity Cards, basic administrative requirements leading to its implementation by the end of the month."

The Scheme would also enable the health authorities to use the facilities to raise more money to provide better equipment and logistic support to encourage more young doctors and other health staff to stay and work in the country.

The Deputy Minister, who is also Member of Parliament for Effutu Constituency said the payment of uniform fees for services rendered would encourage some private hospitals to also become service providers to increase the number of service points.

NHIS seeks to reduce the stress and difficulties families goes through to assess health care under the cash and carry system that is operating now, "Cash and Carry puts the lives of the sick at risk, especially the poor who mostly die because they cannot afford to pay high hospital bills."

Cash and Carry system is inhuman scheme and as a matter of urgency needs to be replaced, but government's noble intentions would only materialized if all stakeholders join the crusade by registering and encouraging others to register, he said.

He said, in all advanced countries health insurance takes care of the citizenry, be it national or private health insurance scheme, and asked the people to join the scheme.

Mr Owusu-Agyie also appealed to the District Assemblies to assist NHIS Officials with temporary transportation and other logistical support to enhance their mobility, especially to the hinterlands. He noted that the government's budget for the health sector was not adequate and support from people would help in providing a quality health care delivery system.

"Unless you support the National Health Insurance Scheme by registering to become members, the health budget will not be adequate for health institutions," he said.

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