“If We Take Off Insults And Partisan Politics...We'll Be Able To Sustain NHIS

“If we take off partisan politics and insults, we will be able to sustain NHIS. There is nothing like free health care. Someone pays for it and so the more we use the scheme we must ensure that there is enough funds for it. We must all come together and find a lasting solution to the challenges the scheme is facing currently…” These are words of the President of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr. Kwabena Opoku-Adusei calling on Ghanaians to find a more proactive and pragmatic way of solving the challenges facing the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). A few days ago, Missionary Hospitals across the country suspended its services to NHIS cardholders pending the payment of NHIS tariffs by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA). The Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG), the mother body of 183 missionary hospitals nationwide said the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) owed its members over Gh¢50 million as at January, 31, 2013; hence its medical facilities will not continue to provide services to NHIS cardholders. However, per the intervention of the Minister of Health, Madam Sherry Ayitey, they (missionary hospital) rescinded their decision. These issues add up to the many allegation from beneficiaries of the NHIS that the scheme is not effective and that it is at the verge of collapsing. Talking to Kwami Sefa-Kayi in an interview on ‘Kokrokoo’, Peace FM’s flagship programme, Dr. Adusei said NHIS is a very good scheme but ‘due to the politicking of NHIS, nobody wants to put forward any suggestion, lest he or she be tagged with a political party’. However, “if we are able to put aside politics and insults, we will be able to find lasting solutions to the challenges and make NHIS a more effective Scheme to the benefit of all Ghanaians especially the less-privileged. The National Health Insurance is one of the best things that happened to the country since independence and we must strive to make it work no matter what it will take. The fact should be made that the National health Insurance scheme is not for any individual or group. That is why it is called National. Playing politics with it is not going to help the situation...” Dr Adusei said. Meanwhile, a group calling itself Alliance for the Empowerment of NDC Constituency Branch Executives has called on President John Dramani Mahama to sack the boss of NHIS, Mr Sylvester Mensah ‘as a matter of urgency’. According to them, the NHIS boss is ‘so incompetent’ that if maintained the likelihood for NDC to lose the next election and for the scheme to collapse totally is assured. Speaking in an interview on Peace FM, Ebenezer Akutu, chairman of the group which is an offshoot of NDC said: “Under his watch our manifesto promise of implementing one the time-premium failed because he failed to work. People cannot go to hospital and to get access to health care; meanwhile this was done for the poor. The average Ghanaian cannot afford health because the NHIS is not working… We are going to make him an example for people looking for positions now to know that when given the positions, they need to work because if they fail to deliver, they will be punished…” Meanwhile efforts by peacefmonline.com to reach NHIS Boss, Mr Sylvester Mensah for his reaction proved futile.