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05.03.2006 Health

Daboya communities refuse to register for health insurance

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Daboya (N/R), March 5, GNA - Community members in the Daboya sub-district in the Northern Region have refused to register for the National Health Insurance Scheme due to ignorance and lack of adequate education.

While others are refusing to patronize it because they don't know the benefits, others have never heard of the scheme in order to take decisions on whether to register or not.

These concerns were made known, when the Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface visited some communities in the Daboya sub-district including the remote areas often referred to as "Overseas".

The minister is on a 7-day tour of the western corridor districts of the Northern Region, comprising Bole-Bamboi, Sawla-Tuna-Kalba, West Gonja and Central Gonja districts.

The purpose of the visits was to enable the minister to know the situation on the ground at the rural areas, see how to solve them and to explain government development policies to the people. Key among the minister's message to the people in all the communities was peace, the need for the Representation of the People's Amendment Law (ROPAL), and the importance of the NHIS.

Alhaji Boniface expressed worry about the people's refusal to patronize the health insurance scheme in the rural communities and advised them to register.

In Mankarigu, one of the cut-off communities with a population of about ten thousand inhabitants in the West Gonja District, for instance, only four teachers, who had been posted there have registered and paid their full premium for the scheme.

While in Daboya and its surrounding 44 communities, only 72 people had registered and paid their full premium and even then they are nurses and teachers stationed there.

In an interview with the GNA at Mankarigu some of the community members said they don't know the benefits of the scheme, since no one had ever come there to educate them.

"This is the first time some one is mentioning and explaining health insurance to us at a gathering like this. This is the first time we are even seeing our DCE and we know because the minister is coming here. But as for our MP he does not even visit any of our communities because the road is not good. "How would doctors and nurses come here?" one community member asked.

Another community member, who gave his name as Seidu Ali, said he heard of the scheme on radio but not into details and did not know why he should pay 72,000 cedis to the clinic, while he was not sick and that with the minister's education he would reconsider his decision. Ms Florence Fatima Seidu, the nurse in charge of the Mankarigu Health Centre said she has been educating those, who reported at the centre for treatment about the scheme, but no one had expressed interest apart from the four teachers there.

Mr Ebenezer Adam Dawura, Medical Assistant at Daboya Health Centre said they have been educating the people about the scheme but "They are just not interested in the scheme".

He said health personnel could not travel to the rural communities due to lack of transport and that the motor-bikes that personnel are using have broken down and can not travel to the "Overseas" areas. 5 March 06