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02.12.2005 Regional News

Consider batter system to implement NHIS policy- Akosa

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Accra, Dec 02, GNA - Professor Agyemang Badu Akosa, Director General of the Ghana Health Service, has suggested the batter system for payment of registration fees for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in areas where cash was not readily available. He described the Scheme as the "single most important thing" that happened to the country, but regretted the low level of registration so far, which stood about three million out of a population of more than 20 million.

Prof. Akosa, who was chairing a round table policy forum organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Accra, identified the complaint of unavailability of cash to pay for the registration fees in some communities. He suggestedm as an example that communities that reared cattle and goats could be made to register with their animals and the animals sold later. Prof Akosa compared the registration for the Scheme to that of national registration, and said it must be ensured that every Ghanaian registered for the Scheme. He said the mass registration in Accra could not hit even 25 per cent, and dismissed excuse of not registering to lack of funds. He said livestock, which could be traded could be used for payment of registration fees, adding, "Lets raise the pride of the Ghanaian. National Health Insurance has come to stay and we will abolish cash and carry."

Prof. Akosa said Ghanaians who failed to register for the Scheme should be charged the full economic fee for medical treatment and added that medical fees in public health institutions had rather been stable for the past 10 years. He said any increase in medical fees in public health institutions would have to be done by Parliament, adding that the Ghana Health Service had zoned out 5,280 communities with community health nurse as first point of call for medical attention.

Mr. Kwaku Agyemang Manu, Deputy Minister of Finance, said disbursement of money was no problem under the NHIS, adding that the development partners were ready to support the Scheme, provided that a lot more commitment was shown He announced a programme to train and use national service personnel to get into rural communities for a mop up exercise for the registration. He said 84 out of the 123 districts had started managing their own claims.

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