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19.08.2005 Health

Implementers of NHIS asked to repackage strategies

Implementers of NHIS asked to repackage strategies

Koforidua, Aug.19, GNA- Implementers of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) have been asked to repackage educational strategies on the plan to convince more people to register. This was because patronage of the scheme nationwide was not up to expectation, necessitating management of the plan in various communities to be proactive and innovative to attract more contributors. Nana Adjei Boateng, the New Juaben Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), who made the call, noted that "insurance schemes thrived on numbers and contributions of members for sustainability."

The MCE was speaking at the joint inauguration of the Eastern Regional Health Insurance Implementation Committee and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) Regional and District Action Teams in Koforidua on Thursday.

Nana Boateng observed that few months into the execution of the scheme in some districts, the high demand for health delivery and the attendant huge monies required for the payment of service providers, partly at the threshold level, were rendering the scheme almost bankrupt.

He said these challenges that had been identified at the preliminary stages of the implementation process, could pose "a credibility threat" to the scheme.

Nana Boateng, therefore, urged Regional Committees and District Action Teams throughout the country to assist in the implementation of the scheme.

He also requested managers of the NHIS to explore other sources of funding to make it sustainable.

Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyirah, the Eastern Regional Director of Health Services, said the region was advancing in the execution of the scheme in all the 17 districts.

He said the region was "setting the pace as the first region to reach out to all it's districts."

Dr Appiah-Denkyirah said 15 out of the 17 districts had hospitals and the remaining two had health centre that were being upgraded.

Dr Appiah-Denkyirah stated that all the health centres had been urged to open dental, eye and other special units to ensure expansion of services to beneficiaries of the NHIS.

He said the regional medical store had also been given partial autonomy to procure and distribute drugs and essential logistics to all the healthcare centres, including private facilities to ensure the success of the scheme.

The Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, Ms Susan Mensah noted that only 15 per cent of the total population of the region had been registered so far under the scheme.

She, therefore, appealed to implementers of the scheme to ensure that the remaining 85 per cent was covered. Ms Mensah, however, lauded the regional health administration for ensuring that the implementation of the NHIS in the region, which took-off in January in only five districts, had been replicated in all the districts within seven months.

She said: "We have proven our critics wrong by that achievement, even though there might be some difficulties at the initial stages". Ms Mensah said since the scheme was established by an Act of Parliament, "any evil-minded citizens who would try to undermine it's operation will be made to face the law when apprehended". She advised the people to desist from abusing the system through frivolous use of the service providers.