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02.11.2005 Health

Kassena-Nankana Health Insurance Scheme takes off

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Navrongo (U/E), Nov 02, GNA - The Kassena-Nankana District on Tuesday became the first in the Upper East Region to start implementing the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

The scheme has collected a total of 130 million cedis from 13,470 registered members in the district.

Carrying their identity cards residents of Navrongo, who registered with the scheme, went to the War Memorial Hospital to receive medical care.

Patients outside the district capital were catered for in more than 17 health compounds located in various parts of the district manned by trained staff from the Ghana Health Service (GHS).

Mr Abarry Mohammed, hospital pharmacist and Mr Kofi Konlan, Administrator at the War Memorial Hospital, told the District Chief Executive, Mr Emanuel Chegeweh, that the initial response of residents to the scheme's implementation was smooth and satisfactory. "All our records are in order and in addition to dispensing medication to patients bearing NHIS identity cards, we also educate those still under the Cash and Carry system to register without delay so that they too can access free medical care," said the pharmacist. He said about 10 patients with NHIS ID cards had been attended to in the hospital at the time of the DCE's visit, citing eye problems, malaria, gastritis and asthma as some of the complaints received.

Mr Chegeweh said a deprived district such as his could not talk of providing quality healthcare for its people under the Cash and Carry system.

With the inception of the NHIS, however, the health status of the people would improve because they would report promptly to the health facility in the event of ill health, knowing that no cash would be demanded before treatment.

The DCE commended staff of the hospital and all health workers in the district for the successful take-off of the scheme and urged them to sustain the achievement by constantly explaining the benefits of the NHIS to the people particularly those not yet registered. Mr David Samari, Manager of the Scheme, said an increasing number of people who had been to the hospital Tuesday and saw their compatriots receive treatment free of charge thronged the District Office of the NHIS to register.

"All their doubts were dispelled, having seen the benefits of the Scheme in real terms," he said.

Mr Samari commended the District Assembly and the Navrongo Health Research Center (NHRC) for their assistance that had made the take-off of the Scheme possible.

He said while the assembly provided the scheme with office accommodation, two air-conditioners and occasional funding, the NHRC had pledged to provide the NHIS office with some computers and motorcycles. He appealed to the GHS and other stakeholders in healthcare delivery, as well as NGOs to come to the aid of the Scheme with means of transport to enable staff undertake effective monitoring of the exercise in the outlying communities. 02 Nov 05

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