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17.08.2005 Health

Stop playing politics with NHIS - Owusu Agyei

By GNA

Winneba (C/R), Aug. 17, GNA - Dr Samuel Owusu Agyei, Deputy Minister of Health, has appealed to Ghanaians to stop playing politics with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and to contribute to its success.

He reminded the citizenry, irrespective of political, ethnic and religious persuasions, that the essence of the scheme was to keep the people healthy all the time, "so that collectively we can build a healthier and prosperous nation".

Dr Owusu Agyei was addressing NHIS officials, field workers and members of the Awutu-Effutu-Senya District Assembly at a special session at the National Sports College on Tuesday at which the work of registration officers of the scheme was reviewed.

The Deputy Minister, who is also the Member of Parliament for Effutu, said the Government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was aware that some people in the society would try to sabotage the scheme by saying all sorts of things just to poison the minds of the people about the scheme but this would never stop it from implementing the policy to the letter.

He advised workers propagating the NHIS tenets in urban and rural communities to ignore the moves by saboteurs to derail the commencement of the scheme in the area and to double efforts to register as many people as possible to get the scheme started in the District. Dr Owusu Agyei said, even though, the Government had provided funds to support district assemblies to implement the scheme, each district should be able to generate adequate funds internally to supplement what had been given to them by the Central Government to ensure the sustainability of the scheme.

He asked registration officials of the scheme and district assembly members to put behind them the lies being peddled about the scheme by saboteurs of the scheme and work hard to get more people to register in their respective districts, saying that such things were bound to happen in the course of their work.

Mr Solomon Kwashie Abbam-Quaye, District Chief Executive for the area, urged the NHIS workers and assembly members in the district to design effective means to convince people, who have not registered with the scheme to do so.

Mr Felix Kwei-Tagoe, Board Chairman of the Awutu-Effutu-Senya District Health Insurance Scheme, said out of the 188,000 people expected to register with the scheme; only 37,507 had so far registered since the registration exercise started.

He said out of the number, 5,595 came from the formal sector and 12,560 from the informal sector.

Mr Kwei-Tagoe said 694 registered people had made full payment of their premium, while 1,191 had also made part-payment. During discussions, workers of the scheme called for adequate logistical support and means of transport for effective and sustained campaign to effectively educate people in remote communities on the scheme.

The field workers affirmed that many rural people in the rural communities and urban towns in the district were crippled by abject poverty, thus preventing them from registering. 17 Aug. 05

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