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22.11.2005 Health

NHI Act, best in poverty reduction - Addai-Donkoh

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Kanvilli, (N/R), Nov. 22, GNA - Mr. Kwasi Addai-Donkoh, President of the Association of Health Services Administrators of Ghana (AHSAG) said on Tuesday in Tamale that the passage of the National Health Insurance Act was one of the most singular inspirational poverty reduction strategy ever introduced in the country since independence. He said the inspirational aspect of the Act was that it sought to equitably share the risk of being sick between the rich and the poor and between people who regularly fall sick and those who become sick occasionally.

Mr. Addai-Donkoh, was addressing 200 Administrators of Health Institutions at the 29th Annual Conference of the AHSAG aimed at taking stock of past activities and develop strategies to address the challenges in the sector to chart a way forward. He, however, expressed dissatisfaction at the implementation of the Act, which he noted was rather poor while information to the public had also been limited.

"The registration figures are nothing to write home about and the general attitude to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has been lackadaisical with officialdom, doing seemingly very little towards moving the process forward", he said.

Mr. Addai-Donkoh called on District Assemblies to be committed to getting the NHIS implemented and suggested that the continuing stay in office of District Chief Executives be tired to the level of implementation of the NHIS in their particular districts.

He called for the involvement of the Musician Association of Ghana (MUSIGA) and the media to help intensify awareness creation and understanding of the law to encourage people to patronage the scheme. Currently, registration officials were sitting at fixed locations and waited for clients which he said was not helping the process and called for the adoption of a more rigorous and aggressive registration strategies to ensure the success of the NHIS.

Mr. Addai-Donkoh suggested that registration officials be appointed on commission basis and be given the mandate to move from house-to-house and their remuneration be tied to the number of clients they had registered.

"The existing Act, now allows for optional registration and enrolment with the scheme. This partly accounts for the low registration and enrolment since the passage of the Act", he said. "I wish to state that Ghanaians have the 'wait and see' attitude, which has a potential of crippling the success of the scheme and suggested that the scheme be made compulsory.

All those who refuse to register should be made to pay for the full cost of services received at any health facility", he added. Mr. Addai-Donkoh called on members of the association to judiciously manage the procurement systems to ensure regular availability of logistics in the right quantity and quality at the right place and time and at affordable cost.

"We can no longer pass our inefficiencies on to the poor patients and clients".