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07.10.2005 Health

Release funds for children and aged under NHIS

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Accra, Oct. 7, GNA - The National Health Insurance Council has been urged to see to the prompt release of funds for children under 18 years old, people from 70 years old and above and SNNIT contributors for the smooth commencement of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). In a 3-page communiqu=E9, signed by Mr J E K Pratt, President of the Network of Mutual Health Organisation of Ghana (GNeMHO), it called for the increase of logistical support to facilitate the picture taking exercise and registration under the scheme. The communiqu=E9 was issued at the Middle Zone Meeting comprising of members from the Eastern, Ashanti and the Brong Ahafo regions in Kumasi. It also asked the Council to work out modalities to enable newly created districts to start their own schemes to prevent the risk of leaving some areas uncovered.

The communiqu=E9 pointed out that since private Mutual Health Insurance Schemes were recognised there was the need to absorb their operations into the capacity building process to reduce conflict among stakeholders.

"Additionally there is the need to harmonize the software used by the different schemes to guarantee efficiency and effectiveness of data management and claims administration".

The network observed that the NHIS price list for drugs was higher than what was on the market and called for the their review to harmonise the scheme, adding, "service providers must be ethical and professional in the discharge of their duty and cooperate with schemes in negotiating prices, as it would largely minimize fraud".

It noted that the current minimum premium, as well as subsidies provided by the Council for exempted groups, was inadequate considering the high cost of treatment for basic illnesses such as malaria. The communiqu=E9 suggested the adoption of appropriate control and monitoring mechanisms to check fraud and to minimize frivolous use of the services as well as the establishment of zonal health insurance offices to avoid conflict with stakeholders.

The members of the GNeMHO pledged their support for the efforts aimed at making health care affordable for the people and to ensure the success of the scheme.