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02.02.2006 Health

NHIS will transform health system - Prof. Akosa


Tamale, Feb.01, GNA - Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has observed that the effective implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the Community Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) would transform the country's health sector and improve the health status of Ghanaians.

He said the low response of the people to register with the NHIS was due to lack of effective sensitisation on the scheme to enable people understand and appreciate its benefits.

Professor Akosa was addressing Health Managers, District Chief Executives, District Coordinating Directors and other stakeholders in the health sector on the effective implementation of the NHIS and the CHPS.

He described the implementation of the two schemes as the "best thing to have happened to the poor people of this country," and urged Ghanaians to embrace them to access quality health care services. The Director-General explained that the CHPS programme was a concept through which sub-District Health Centres had been divided into zones with each zone having a community health nurse.

"Under this programme, the nurse does not only stay with the people but visit them in their homes to learn about their health needs and also educate them on the importance of nutrition and sanitation," he said.

Professor Akosa announced that the GHS had budgeted for the establishment of 90 CHPS zones throughout the country this year, with the Northern Region benefiting from nine of such zones. He said when the CHPS were effectively implemented they would help solve about 80 per cent of the health problems within the rural areas. The Director-General said; "The 72,000 cedis premium beneficiaries are required to contribute to the NHIS is very small as compared to the benefits they would derive from the scheme."

Dr Elias Sory, Northern Regional Director of Health, appealed to people politicising the NHIS to stop because health issues should not be toyed with.

He said the NHIS was in the best interest of the people and urged District Directors of Health, District Chief Executives, chiefs and other stakeholders in the health sector to promote the scheme since it was in the national interest.

Alhaji Abubakar Saddiqque Boniface, Northern Regional Minister said the health sector had an important role to play in the government's poverty reduction programmed.

He cautioned those politicising the NHIS saying: "By your action, you are preventing future generations to benefit from a humane health policy."