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Health News Tue, 10 Jan 2006

Health Insurance Council commends schemes in Volta Region

Ho, Jan. 10, GNA - The National Health Insurance Council on Monday commended the District Health Mutual Schemes in the Volta Region for chalking significant successes within a short space of time.

This followed a tour of some of the Schemes by members of the Council who also held a consultative meeting with Managers of the Schemes in Ho on Monday.

Ten out of the 13 schemes in the region have been inaugurated and are providing services to their subscribers.

The Deputy Minister of Health and member of the Council, Mr Samuel Owusu-Agyei said the performance of the schemes in the region were contrary to the initial skeptism that characterized reports about the schemes in the region.

"We never expected to attain the target, we have succeeded", he said. Mr Owusu-Agyei was optimistic that more people, who have held back from joining the schemes would rush to join them, once those already benefiting bear witness to the relieves it had brought them.

He said the main focus of the schemes were the poor people and once they had started to benefit from it then the government would have fulfilled its social contract in that direction. Regarding the reimbursement for services provided to those under exemption, Mr. Owusu-Agyei said that was the responsibility of the government and not the various schemes.

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Mr Owusu-Agyei assured that the various schemes would not have any problem reimbursing the various service providers for the cost of their services to their clients.

Nene Sakite III, Chairman of the Council assured that once the various schemes submitted their returns on time and these were found to be genuine the established formula would be used to reimburse them promptly.

"Funds are always available, make sure the claims are genuine and on time", he told the Managers.

Regarding the role of chiefs in the implementation of the scheme, Nene Sakite, said, "as those who touch the people", Chiefs have a duty to join the campaign to get their people to participate in it. "Health is not politics, we should take it up to get people to know that this is a social investment it will be a great blow to stay out", he said.

Mr Kofi Asamoah, a member of the Council said a process has been started to procure equipment and logistics for the various schemes i by March this year to be followed with the supply of vehicles by June the same year.

He said the council is also in consultation with the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) to fashion out a training scheme for staff of the various schemes and the Board by March this year.

Mr Asamoah said an Information Technology Director has been employed who would design a uniform computer software, to facilitate the networking of all the schemes in the country.

He said until a uniform computer software is developed, the various schemes should using what they already have.

The main problems enumerated by the Scheme Managers were, lack of vehicles, office equipment, inadequate staff, limited office accommodation limited funding and the inability of the Assemblies to provide adequate support because of their own resource constraints. It was recommended that prior to the design of a common software there should be a workshop involving all the schemes for a thorough discussion of the subject leading and the preparation of a detailed manual on such a software.

Source: GNA