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04.10.2005 Health

Issues of health are issues of life - Regional Minister

By GNA
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Kumasi, Oct. 4, GNA - Mr Sampson Kwaku Boafo, Ashanti Regional Minister said on Tuesday that the success or otherwise of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) depended on the commitment, honesty and efficiency of those, who will be managing the implementation process. He said it was therefore, a matter of worry that, people were still complaining about where to take their photographs at a time when the scheme was expected to take off in most parts of the country. Opening a two-day capacity building workshop for Board Chairmen and Managers of Mutual Health Organisations (MHOs) in Kumasi, Mr Boafo challenged them to be committed to the success of the scheme.

The National Network organisation is organising the workshop for the middle zone, comprising Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and the Eastern regions and is being sponsored by the Danish Development Agency (DANIDA) The participants were expected to treat the relevant portions of Act 650 and L1 1809, discuss a proposal on the conditions of service and salaries for management staff and Board allowances. The workshop will also discuss the monitoring checklist and challenges facing the schemes and the way forward.

Mr Boafo said the Fee for Service Policy, popularly called "Cash and Carry" denies the majority of the poor their right to medical care and the result was the high number of patients, who were detained after treatment for their inability to pay their bills. There were instances, where people have absconded after treatment and many more have died from common diseases like malaria, for lack of funds to access health care facilities, he added.

Mr Boafo said it was to provide a solution to these problems that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) with the sole aim of making health care accessible to all, especially the poor and vulnerable. It is to show evidence of government's seriousness and commitment to the scheme that it put in place the necessary legislation documents. He said the workshop was therefore, very significant coming at the time when many insurance schemes had either taken off or were about to take off and hoped the workshop will provide a common platform for the scheme to share best practices and common problems. Mr John Ekwah Kweku Pratt, President of HNEMHO reiterated that, the NHIS was not for any political party but that it was about the health needs of all Ghanaians.

He, therefore, asked Ghanaians for once to appreciate this laudable social programme and register with the various schemes. "This is our last option for the provision of affordable and quality health care for all persons in this country". Mr Pratt asked the Board Chairmen and Scheme Managers to eschew selfishness and work hard, so as to add their names to the history of Ghana in the introduction of the NHIS.

He charged them to take control of the scheme and administer it to the benefit of the people in their communities.

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