Mass murder or failed NHIS? Minority rallies Ghanaians to rise up
Posted on: 2014-Aug-06        
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The Ghana Pharmacy Chamber says ninety-percent of all health facilities under the chamber no longer accepts patients with the National Health Insurance card.

Lead Advocate for the Chamber Ernest Aboagye confirmed the withdrawal of services in an interview to Joy News shortly after the Minority in Parliament blew the alarm on what it says was the near collapse of the National Health Insurance Scheme.

The Minority claimed the scheme had been shattered due largely to the "incompetence" of the government in handling what was supposed to be the single largest social intervention in the country.

The NHIS was introduced in 2003 to make health care accessible and affordable to all Ghanaians. The NDC government in implementing the policy introduced the capitation policy which is one of the three main payment systems under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Capitation is defined as a payment system in which all service providers are paid, in advance, a predetermined fixed rate to provide services for a given period.

But the Minority insists the policy has failed and has been a vehicle of needless deaths, especially in the Ashanti Region.

At a press conference, Member of Parliament for Manhyia Mathew Opoku Prempeh said the capitation health policy introduced in the Ashanti Region by the NHIA is akin to "mass murder" in the region.

He argued with the capitation policy, patients have an increased out of pocket expenditure which means they now pay more out of their pocket to access health care, a contrast to the objective of the NHIS.

As a result of this policy, patients who cannot afford to pay have died needless and painful deaths, Opoku Prempeh, pointed out, adding "what has the Ashanti Region done to deserve this mass murder?"

The MP for Dormaa East, William Kwasi Sabi who addressed the Minority press conference stated that Ghanaians should let the blood of their colleagues- who should be living, but who are dead as a result of the incompetent handling of the NHIS- to ignite a sense of patriotism in them and rise up against the government.

As if touched by the rallying cry of the opposition, the Ghana Chamber of Pharmacy said they have since August 1, stopped giving medications to patients under the NHIS.

According to Ernest Aboagye the hospitals under the Chamber have been crippled by the non-payment of premiums by the NHIA.

He said some of the facilities have six months of arrears, a situation he said has forced them to stop providing services to the patients with NHIS.

"It's a real difficult situation," he pointed out.

Luv FM's Ohemeng Tawiah reported that some private health institutions are demanding from patients to "top up" before they are attended to.

As for the public hospitals, the patients are asked to buy the drugs after they had been attended to, he reported.

The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, which has about 80 per cent of patients subscribed to the NHIS, has been in arrears from December last year.

That Tawiah reported has affected the quality of services to the patients.

He said the fuel allowance of doctors has also not been paid, worsening an already complicated situation.

In Tamale, the situation is no different as Hashmin Mohammed reported that some patients holding NHIS cards are turned due to the arrears owed the hospitals.

But the NHIA has dismissed assertion the Scheme is near collapse.

The Communications Director, Selorm Adornoo said othat key performance indicators of the scheme since 2013 proves the scheme is rather headed for better days.

“A scheme which is about to collapse will not have about 10.1 million people on it today. A scheme which is about to collapse will not record the utilization of 27.4 million people of visits in 2013. A scheme which is about to collapse will not witness the number of people who daily troop to our centres to register for the biometric system that we are introducing”, said Selorm.