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27.03.2006 Health

Clients defraud National Health Insurance Scheme U/E

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Sandema (U/E), March 27, GNA - Clients of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in some parts of the Upper East Region have begun defrauding the scheme, Mr James Maurice Abakisi, Builsa District NHIS Manager, has said at the weekend.

"Under the pretext of being sick, some unscrupulous members attend health facilities to collect prescribed drugs for their unregistered relatives and friends," said the Scheme Manager at a one-day stakeholders meeting of healthcare providers at Sandema. The purpose of the meeting was to review the strengths and weaknesses of the NHIS since it took off in the area in November 2005 and to fashion out strategies to improve it.

Mr Abakisi cited Bolgatanga and Navrongo as areas where such fraudulent acts had been detected and urged healthcare providers to put in place pragmatic measures to curb the menace.

He suggested that instead of always administering drugs to the clients, healthcare providers could alternatively offer injection where necessary because this could deter people from defrauding the scheme.

Mr Abakisi said people also defraud the scheme by attempting to use identity cards that do not belong to them and appealed to healthcare providers to check identity cards closely at service delivery points. He expressed displeasure about the shortage of certain essential drugs in hospitals in the region, citing instances where clients had to travel from the Builsa District to Kumasi to buy prescribed drugs. This, he said, put the scheme in a dilemma, as it was not supposed to reimburse individuals.

Mr Abakisi appealed to the Ghana Health Services (GHS) to re-examine its drug supply policy to ensure that there was free flow of drugs to health facilities at all times, saying this would build public confidence in the Scheme.

Participants stressed the need for healthcare providers to abide by the prices of the Scheme drug list.

They acknowledged the enormous benefits being derived from the scheme and called for a continuous and sustainable education campaign about the benefits of the scheme for more people to register.