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27.02.2006 Health

Minister warns NHIS Managers


Tamale, Feb. 27, GNA - The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface has warned managers of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) not to turn their rooms into banks but to channel the premiums collected from the people to the appropriate authorities.

He urged them to be patriotic in their operations to ensure the smooth implementation of the scheme, which, he said, was crucial to the promotion of quality healthcare delivery. Alhaji Boniface gave the warning at a meeting with managers of the scheme, including the Executive Secretary, Mr. Ras Boateng, District Board Chairpersons from the Northern, Upper East, Upper West and Brong Ahafo Regions, as well as District Chief Executives, in Tamale on Monday.

The forum was to offer the newly appointed Executive Secretary the opportunity to assess the implementation of the scheme in the districts, find out problems and challenges and receive suggestions from the key stakeholders to fast track the performance of the NHIS. Alhaji Boniface urged the District Chief Executives to show interest in the scheme by supervising and monitoring the activities of the scheme managers in their districts to check any malfeasance. He noted that until the introduction of the NHIS, many people in the rural communities would only attend hospital or clinic as a last resort not because they did not believe in modern medicine but because they were poor to access healthcare delivery. The Regional Minister suggested to the NHIS authorities to be flexible and allow farmers to use cash and food crops to pay for their premiums.

Mr. Boateng noted: "Healthcare holds the key to the country's development since a healthy people build a healthy country". "Quality healthcare delivery is very important to all of us and therefore it must be our collective task to achieve this," he said, adding: "The issue of the NHIS should not be politicised since illness has no barriers".

The Executive Secretary urged the participants to disseminate the information to the people at the rural communities to enable them to access quality healthcare at the lowest cost.