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03.08.2005 Health

Scheme Managers present progress reports on NHIS in Upper West

GNA

Wa, Aug 03, GNA - About 26,600 people in the Upper West Region have subscribed to the National Health Insurance Scheme and paid premiums totalling about 250 million cedis.

Under the Wa District-Wide Scheme that comprises, Wa Municipality, Wa East and Wa West districts, 19,500 people have registered while Nadowli and Lawra districts recorded 2,785 and about 1,500 subscribers respectively.

The Sissala East and West districts registered 2,032 people made up of 1,275 formal sector workers and 759 from the informal sector while Jirapa/Lambissie recorded 1,023 informal sector subscribers. These figures were made known at a one-day regional stakeholders meeting of the scheme at Wa on Tuesday during which scheme managers from districts presented progress reports.

The reports showed that most of the scheme managers had made extensive coverage in their sensitisation programmes but the response was low when compared to the region's population of 570,000. Mr John Zury, Wa District-Wide Scheme Manager, attributed the low response in the rural areas to farming activities and the fact that farmers in the area usually faced food shortages during this period of the year and therefore could not raise money to pay the premiums. As a result, out of 19,000 recorded in the Wa Municipality, Wa East registered 1,286 people and Wa West registered 1,338 people. There was a similar trend in the other districts with rural communities recording very low figures.

Mr Ambrose Dery, the Upper West Regional Minister, appealed to the district assemblies to take control and ownership of the schemes in their districts.

He said any district assembly that is not totally committed to the NHIS is not interested in the health of the people and therefore not fit to exist.

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