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15.07.2005 Health

Deputy Minister launches Health Insurance Scheme

GNA

Yendi, (N/R) July 15, GNA - The Yendi Mutual Health Insurance Scheme has been launched at Yendi in the Northern Region. Launching the Scheme, the Deputy Minister of Health, Mr Owusu Agyei, who is also the MP for Effutu Constituency said National Health Insurance Scheme is a social re-engineering programme.

Mr Agyei said, "it is a programme to empower our people to determine and manage their own health," adding that the scheme is one of the pro-poor policies bring established to enable the sick, the children and the poor to be protected against the socio-economic realities that confront all citizens of the country.

Mr Agyei urged all citizens to come together, irrespective of religion, ethnicity and politics to fight the diseases confronting us. He reiterated that the objective of the government is to provide good quality health services at an affordable cost to the people.

In an address, the Northern Regional Minister Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface said no country can develop unless the health of its people is placed topmost in its development agenda. Alhaji Boniface said, 'we need a healthy populace to be able to drive the private sector as the engine of growth."

He called on all districts that are marking time to speed up their pace so that the scheme would be in operation all over the region by December 2005.

Alhaji Boniface said health is not a political item and so a scheme that focuses on the health of the people must not be subjected to the usual political debate.

He reminded the people in the area that in order to develop they need to live in peace where people could go about in pursuit of their daily businesses without fear, threat and intimidation. He said, if doctors, nurses and health workers among others flee because of insecurity the Health Insurance Scheme will be for ghosts and not human beings.

In his welcoming address, the Acting Yendi District Chief Executive, Alhaji Mohammed Habib Tijani said the three Northern Regions are the most hard hit by poverty and as result are more often than not unable to settle their hospital bills to enable them to access health delivery services.

Alhaji Tijani said the scheme must therefore work with their support and co-operation because it is the only relief that could make health affordable to them.

He announced that as at May 2005, the Yendi District Mutual Health Insurance Scheme has been able to mobilise an amount of 73 million as premium collected from 20,067 registered members. The Minister expressed the district's appreciation to the government and the secretariat of the NHIS for making available an amount of 356 million cedis to the Yendi District Mutual Health Insurance Scheme.

Alhaji Tijani said the Yendi District Assembly assisted the Scheme with 37 million cedis, provided fuel and lubricants and vehicle to facilitate the implementation of the scheme. He said the Assembly has also budgeted for the construction of an office block for the Scheme at a cost of 280 million cedis.

Mr. Alhaji Malik Yakubu Alhassan, who is also second Deputy Speaker of Parliament said the National Health Insurance Scheme is a policy in the right direction which must be embraced by everybody.

Alhaji Malik, who is also the Member of Parliament for Yendi said, "the way we will do it better is for everybody to come out and register massively with the scheme," adding that nobody should play politics with the Scheme.

In an address, the Yendi District Director of Health Service, Dr Sampson-Aning Abankwa said in spite of numerous interventions and the dedicated hard work of the of the health professionals, the health status of the people of Yendi District still left much to be desired. Dr. Abankwah said the District is still afflicted with diseases like malaria, diarrhoea and guinea worm. He said maternal and infant mortality is still unacceptably high. He said hypertension, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases are on the ascendancy. He said it is gradually moving from communicable to non-communicable diseases, which, incidentally are chronic in nature and difficult and expensive to manage.

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