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26.09.2005 Health

SSNIT contributors to start benefiting from the NHIS

By GNA
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Accra, Sept. 26, GNA - Mr Samuel Owusu-Adjei, Deputy Minister of Health, on Monday called for swift efforts to ensure that all Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributors nationwide started benefiting form the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) within the shortest possible time.

He threw the challenge to the Governing Board, Coordinators and Managers of NHIS as a teaser that would "trigger" an intensified registration nationwide.

Mr Owusu-Adjei noted that increased registration would mark the beginning of reaping the good intentions behind the introduction of the NHIS.

Mr Owusu-Adjei, who was addressing participants at the third response coordination meeting of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in Accra, said until public education was intensified, apathy would continue to be the bane of the scheme.

More than 40 Coordinators and Managers of NHIS, representatives of the various Regional Coordinating Councils nationwide as well as members of various implementing bodies are attending the meeting to discuss the problems that affected the progress.

They would also discuss challenges that have prevented the full implementation and take-off of the scheme and to possibly find feasible and practical solutions to the challenges identified. Mr Owusu-Adjei said the implementation of the NHIS had been beset with problems including slow implementation and varied progress in the regions and districts.

He said a programme had been put in place by the GHS to intensify education on the benefits of the NHIS and to ensure a wider coverage, especially those in the informal sector. Mr Owusu-Adjei stated that in spite of all the problems, there was the need to work hard to ensure the success of the scheme against all odds.

He called for a review of the scheme design and its implementation and to further consider its weaknesses, attempt to strengthen them and think of ways of improving communication.

The Deputy Minister further called for cooperation between the National Health Insurance Council and the implementing agencies. He said it was important to ensure effective collaboration between the various Regional Coordinating Councils and district assemblies to ensure enhanced participation of the scheme at the grassroots level. Dr Sam Adjei, Acting Director-General, Ghana Health Service (GHS), said a number of activities including the development of a GHS medium-term strategic plan were undertaken in 2004 to effectively deal with the challenges of the scheme and to provide maximum support to move the NHIS forward.

He explained that the meeting would review the progress made so far in the implementation of the scheme in all the 10 regions and to plan together for the way forward within the context of the strategic objectives of the GHS medium- term plan for the support of the Scheme's implementation. 26 Sept. 05

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