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26.11.2005 General News

NHIS principally for the poor-CEDEP

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Koforidua, Nov. 26, GNA - The Deputy Executive Director of the Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP), Mr Charles S. Sakyi, has observed that, the success of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) would principally depend on the effective participation of the poor, vulnerable and the marginalized.

He said his organization regarded the Scheme as a "very laudable poverty reduction programme" and called on all Ghanaians to join hands to support the scheme.

Mr Sakyi was speaking at the launching of a programme by CEDEP to mobilize the poor and vulnerable in the society to participate in the NHIS in Koforidua on Thursday. The CEDEP Manager for Programme Development, Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr Joseph Owusu, explained that experience had shown that interventions to help the poor hardly got to the target groups in the desired manner.

According to him, the elite, who should facilitate the process of reaching the poor and vulnerable with the benefit of such interventions " rather reduce their own poverty" to the neglect of the intended beneficiaries.

Mr Owusu said CEDEP abhorred this and was committed to contribute towards making the poor and vulnerable exercise their rights and enjoy the benefits accruing to them under the NHIS. He said to this end, CEDEP would facilitate the use of Civil Society Organizations (CSO) in the establishment of Regional and District Health Insurance Vigilance Committees (R/DHIVC).

Mr Owusu said members of the DHIVC would be trained in community mobilization, advocacy and social accountability to enable them sensitise the communities about the NHIS.

He said the Committees would monitor the performance of the schemes and provide feedbacks to the scheme managers and the National Health Insurance Council (NHIC).

Mr Owusu said CEDEP and DHIVCs would organize annual District Health Insurance Appraisal Meetings in each of the project districts for interaction between the Committees and the district scheme managers and the District Directors of Health Services.

He explained that such interactions would provide the forum for the scheme managers and the health directors to make presentations of challenges facing the scheme, while the DHIVCs would also make presentations on the people's perceptions, complaints and aspirations. Mr Owusu stressed that the DHIVCs would not be a witch hunting one but would act as an advocacy group to engage the NHIC and policy makers to take pro-poor actions in the NHIS implementations. In a speech read on his behalf, the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Yaw Barimah, said the government and its development partners had made huge investments in the establishment of the NHIS.

He said the empowerment of the poor would make it possible for them to take up the responsibility of making the scheme successful. Nov. 26, 05

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