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04.08.2005 Health

Managers of NHIS called upon to take tough decisions


Koforidua, Aug 4, GNA-The Eastern Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyirah has called on managers of the health insurance schemes in the country to be prepared to take tough decision when the situation demands if the schemes are to survive. He said though the scheme was suppose to pay for the medical bills of fully paid up members, when it becomes clear that the cost of certain diseases being catered for by the scheme were threatening the existence of the scheme, the managers in collaboration with other stakeholders must find ways to make patients bear part of the costs. Dr Appiah-Denkyirah was speaking at workshop on the National Health Insurance Scheme organized by the Eastern Regional Health Directorate for personnel of various media houses in the Eastern Region at Koforidua on Thursday.

The workshop was aimed at equipping media practitioners on the state of the scheme in the region and with facts and figures that would help them in their reportage and discussion programmes on the air waves. Dr Denkyirah said the workshop was also to inform the media personnel about challenges facing the scheme so that when complains of payments under the scheme arises at any point in time, they would be able to appreciate the concept and the rational behind such payments and offer the appropriate explanation. Mr Samuel Agyemang Boateng, a member of the Regional Task Force on the Scheme, advised people who have registered under the scheme to attend only accredited institutions as they would not be reimbursed if they attended non accredited health facilities. He took the participants through some of the sickness and illnesses that the schemes do not cover adding, "contributing to the scheme does not mean you can go to the hospital to do cosmetic surgery for free."

The Regional Administrator of Ghana Health Services(GHS), Ms Evelyn Aseidu- Offei, answering a question on disparity of fees charged by the various institutions in the region, noted that when the uniform price list comes into operation that would help take care of that. She said there were programmes to sensitize and educate all health staff by the Regionl NHIS Task Team and that the needed structures were being put in place to adequately handle the anticipated increase in workload and other challenges.

The Regional Pharmacies, Mr Ralph Hadzi, said the region recorded 1,442 still birth in 2003 but in 2004 it dropped to 1,195 while maternal mortality also dropped from 113 to 109 in 2004 from the previous year adding, "with the implementation of the scheme I am hopeful there will be further drop in these figures and others". Mr Chris Ashiagbor, a member of the Eastern Regional Co-ordinating Secretariat of the scheme, said a total of 361,062 members have so far registered in the 17 districts and a total of 5.742 billion cedis had been collected, adding that all the district in the region were implementing the scheme. The Eastern Regional Chairman of the Ghana Journalist Association, Mr Tom Brentuo, assured the full co-operation of the media in ensuring that the scheme succeed.