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10.08.2005 Health

Tamale Metro Mutual Health Insurance to take off in September

By GNA

Tamale, Aug. 10, GNA - The Tamale Metro Mutual Health Insurance Scheme is expected to take off on September 1, this year, to allow registered persons to benefit from free medical care under the National Health Insurance Scheme.

Since the Tamale Office started registering people in April, this year, it had put in place some functional structures, including a 13-member board, an office accommodation and the formation of a community Health Insurance Committee in most of the 76 communities in the Metropolis to ensure the smooth take-off of the scheme.

Mr. Hudu Issah, the scheme Manager who disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Tamale on Wednesday said out of the about 318,637 residents in the Metropolis, a total of 37,824 people from both the formal and informal sectors had been registered. Mr. Issah however, said that even though the figures represented only a little more than 10 per cent, it was encouraging and expressed surprise at the rate people were subscribing to the scheme, since most of them had invested a lot of their money in farming.

He mentioned that the Tamale Office would hold durbars in all the 76 communities to offer residents an opportunity to ask questions bothering them to ensure proper understanding of how the scheme would take care of the health needs of every Ghanaian.

"Very soon we will visit the mosques and churches to sensitise the congregation on the need to join the scheme.

Mr. Issah said there was currently a drama running on some selected radio stations in the Metropolis designed to educate the people about the National Health Insurance Scheme.

He advised the Ministry of Health (MOH) not to rely solely on television and radio commercials for education and sensitisation but strive to have direct interactions especially with people at the grassroots level.

The Scheme Manager explained that when attention was focused on only these two means of communication, it would be difficult for most people who live in deprived and remote villages to get access to information.

He appealed to the MOH and the Ministry of Local Government Rural Development to equip the Tamale Office as a matter of urgency, with a means of transport and a photocopier machine to enhance the registration of residents.

Mr. Issah said the 56 million cedis allocated to his outfit this year by the MOH and the National Health Insurance Council was woefully inadequate and pleaded for more funds to enable the Tamale Office to work more efficiently.

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