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12.01.2006 Health

Health Insurance Scheme to be networked by March

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Cape Coast, Jan.12, GNA-A deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Abraham Dwuma Odoom, on Thursday said the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) would be networked by the end of March to enable beneficiaries to access health care in any part of the country. Currently the scheme, which has taken off in 119 of the 123 Schemes, has more than 3.5 million beneficiaries nationwide.

Mr Odoom, who is also, a member of the National Health Insurance Council (NHIC), gave the hint at a Central Regional forum organised by the Council to assess the level of implementation of the NHIS in the region, and to acquaint themselves with challenges facing its implementation in the various districts.

District chief executives, Scheme managers in all the 12 districts of the region, board members and the general public attended the forum during, which three members of the NHIC answered issues agitating the minds of both the public and the managers.

Some of the issues raised included lack of logistics and training for personnel, vehicles, computers, budget allocation for administrative work, over-prescription and the circulation of false information about the scheme.

In response to concerns raised by the managers of the scheme, he said the Council would soon ensure that data on the scheme was upgraded, more computers purchased and conditions of service for personnel improved.

He further promised that by June this year, 150 vehicles would be acquired and distributed to all the scheme centres in the country. Mr Odoom suggested that part of the HIPC funds, be provided by the various district assemblies for the construction of offices for the NHIS in all the districts.

The Agona district manager of the scheme, Mr Agyir Nyarko, expressed concern that some doctors do not prescribe drugs on the scheme's drug list, thereby forcing most beneficiaries to purchase them and urged the Council to help address the problem.

Mrs Scholastica Mensah and Alhaji Mohammed Muniru, also members of the NHIC, took turns to explain that the drug list was periodically reviewed, and gave the assurance that the concerns raised would be addressed.

Mrs Mensah, for her part, described the scheme as laudable and urged all Ghanaians to embrace it.

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