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26.11.2005 General News

NHIC, Govt asked to ease work on NHIS

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Accra, Nov. 26, GNA - The Ghana Network for Participatory Development (GNETPAD), a nongovernmental organisation (NGO), on Monday called on the Government and the National Health Insurance Council (NHIC) to release funds to districts that were ready and running the scheme to help to ensure its successful operation.

Addressing a press conference in Accra, Mr Joseph Owusu, Manager for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Centre for Development of People, an NGO, said it was indicated in the Budget that 700 billion cedis was lying in the coffers of the National Health Insurance Fund. "Meanwhile cash flow problems threaten the very existence of the scheme as the officers struggle to make their books balance and this in turn is throwing hospital finances and supplies into disarray." Media reports have highlighted the plight of existing health insurance schemes, which are desperately trying to access the administrative funds and subsidies, he said.

Mr Owusu said if government did not step in immediately to release funds to areas, which were working hard to get established, they would collapse and it would be difficult to set them up again.

He said some schemes had been given token amounts to cover administrative cost and subsidies and questioned why it was taking so long to disburse the money, which was meant for the districts. "If we are waiting for a formula for disbursement from Parliament, how long would it take?" He asked, saying this should have been agreed upon before the scheme was implemented.

Mr Owusu called on the Government to get everyone on board in the initiative to make the health service work for all Ghanaians. He also called on the governing council of the scheme to continuously review its processes and procedures to make sure that it did not lose its pro-poor focus.

Mr Owusu said before the inception of the NHIS there were a number of self-initiated and donor supported schemes running successfully.

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