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02 July 2017

Revive NHIS – Bawumia charges Board   

The Vice President Mahmmud Bawumia has charged the newly constituted Board of Directors of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to resuscitate the scheme. He said the scheme was at a critical stage and needed the full expertise of the Board to improve.

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“There is so much we want to do within a limited budget. You will be responsible for leading the policy direction and advising government so that we can take the decisions that will fundamentally improve the NHIS. [It] is struggling and we got to prevent this steady creepy towards cash and carry and resuscitate the scheme. You got to put together your minds [and] efforts so that we work in partnership to rescue this scheme, to resuscitate it, to improve it and make it benefit the masses of our people.”

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Dr Bawumia was speaking at the inauguration of a 17-member Board of Directors for the nation’s insurance authority.

The Board which chaired by  a former President of the Ghana Medical Association, Prof. Yaw Adu-Gyamfi, includes the Chief Executive of the NHIA, Dr. Samuel Yaw Annor, a Deputy Minister of Health Kinglsey Aboagye-Gyedu, a Deputy Minister of Finance, Abena Osei-Asare, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, and the National Insurance Commissioner, Lydia Lariba Bawa.

Others are Dr. Dennis Addo of the Social Welfare Department, Kwasi Ampedu-Kissi of SSNIT, Dr. Isaac Charles Noble Morrison of the Medical and Dental Commission and Rev Richard Kwasi Yeboah of Organised Labour. President Akufo Addo also appointed Dr. Sylvester Yaw Oppong and Joyce Zimpare to the Board.

The rest of the members areAnna Pearl Akiwumi-Siriboa, a legal practitioner, Dr. Nicholas Ankomah Tweneboa, a helath professional, Vahandi-Naa Dr. Mohammed Nantogmah Mahama, also a health professional and Kwasi Asante with a Finance background.

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The Challenge:

The Health Insurance Authority is currently saddled with a GHc1.2billion debt to service providers. It announced in May, 2017 that it had disbursed GHc 60million among some service providers. That was however not enough as the Pharmacy Council Ghana and the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) continue to express worry over the debt. But the Chief Executive of the Authority, Dr Samuel Yaw Annor shortly thereafter, declared the Scheme bankrupt as he observed thus;

“The NHIA is at a stage where one will say it is almost bankrupt; in that we have no reserves and we owe people so much. And this has come about because we have increased our membership so much but we have not increased the funding appropriately.”

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Vice President Bawumia therefore urged the Board to work at lifting the Scheme out of its indebtedness and repositioning it to benefit the consumer;

“You are coming to this job at a very critical time. We have seen that the scheme has faced significant challenges. Chief Executive knows that everywhere he turns people are chasing him to pay debts. We have to manage this better and ensure that we have better health delivery. We have to make sure that the resource envelop is properly allocated and efficiently spent so that the patient will be the beneficiary”.

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On their part, Chairman of the Board, Prof Yaw Adu-Gyamfi, promised to work with other stakeholders to take the scheme out of its conundrums.

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“We are aware of the challenges facing the Authority not excluding the following; areas in provider payment reimbursement, the huge funding gap, the false claims management, the poor quality assurance, the high administrative cost and the organizational structural problems and some of the operational inefficiencies. All these we will seek to address as a Board and with all the other stakeholders.”

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By: Sixtus Dong Ullo/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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