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07.11.2005 Health

Doctors wants second look at NHIS

By GNA
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Accra, Nov. 7, GNA - The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) on Monday urged the National Health Insurance Council (NHIC) to re-enforce and develop strategies to improve enrolment of the general public into the Health Insurance Scheme.

The Association also asked the Council to actively engage private health care providers both self-financing and non-profit making in dialogue to ensure their effective participation in the implementation of the scheme, a communiqu=E9 issued at the end of the Association's 47th Annual General Meeting in Sunyani said on Monday.

The communiqu=E9 signed by Professor Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Dr Kwabena Opoku-Adusei, President and General Secretary respectively of the GMA also asked the Ministry of Health to re-visit and facilitate the implementation of appropriately designed public health programmes to reduce the disease burden and national cost of health care. The Ministry must recognise and include other Ministries, Departments and Agencies and private sector organisations whose services are critical to ensuring a healthy population, it said. The Association said, in coming up with the communiqu=E9, it took into consideration certain concerns such as the apparent marginalization of preventive, health promoting and public health concepts and approaches in health care delivery in regard to the sustainability of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHS) and the low enrolment of the general public into the it.

Other concerns were the inadequate recognition, involvement and support to private health care providers by the Council in the implementation scheme and the lack of knowledge and understanding of the scheme especially among health workers and the general public. The communique said another issue of concern was the associated increased workload, stress and exposure to professional liability of doctors and health care workers in the implementation of the scheme. It was worried about the lack of political will to take bold and pragmatic decisions to implement interventions to stem the exodus of doctors and health professional and to reverse the general discontent and very low morale of health workers in Ghana.

It mentioned the lack of collaboration between the public and private health sectors, which adversely affect the achievement of optimal access and the delivery of services and the lack of effective inter-sectoral collaboration in achieving national health outcomes as other causes of anxiety.

The lack of collaboration, the Association said, is exemplified by the malarial menace and the recent outbreak of cholera in certain parts of the country.

The communique said it was also anxious about the slow pace in policy development and implementation despite the numerous conferences, workshops and fora and the high rate of road traffic accidents and indiscipline of road users.

It therefore called on the President to consider road traffic accidents and indiscipline on the roads as a national disaster and accordingly commit government to address it as a priority. The Association requested government to live up to its responsibility and stated commitments to doctors and other healthcare workers in resolving the issues of remuneration and general conditions of service and called for the support for the establishment of a Medical Protection Fund for doctors and the introduction of institutional indemnity provisions of healthcare providers.

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