Health News Fri, 28 Mar 2008

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Lack of licensed chemical shops hampering NHIS at Wa

Wechiau (UWR), March 28, GNA - The scarcity of licensed chemical shops in the Wa West District of the Upper West Region, has been identified as a major obstacle to smooth implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme in the area.

The situation is said to be discouraging people at Wechiau for example from joining the District's Mutual Health Insurance Scheme, since beneficiaries were always compelled to travel to either Wa or Nyoli, a distance of about 40 and 32 kilometres respectively to buy prescribed drugs.

Mr Titus Sorey, Wa West Scheme Manager disclosed this at the inaugural general meeting of the Wa West District Mutual Health Insurance Scheme at Wechiau on Thursday.

He said the purpose for introducing the schemes was being defeated in the district because majority of beneficiaries who were all rural dwellers, spent good sums of money looking for drugs, which were not found in medical facilities within their vicinities.

"For a drug that can be purchased for 50 Ghana pesewas, a beneficiary will have to sometimes spend about Three Ghana cedis on lorry fare to Wa to buy it and this is scaring many people from joining the scheme," Mr Sorey said.

He called on prospective chemical shops operators to acquire licenses because the Law establishing the National Health Insurance Scheme does not allow the scheme to patronize pharmaceutical chemical shops that were operating without licenses.

The Wa West scheme, which created out of the Wa Municipal scheme in January last year, currently had 25,748 registered clients, comprising 6,924 children, 1,327 aged above 70 and 872 indigents, representing 39.2 per cent of the population.

Mr Sorey told the meeting that premiums totalling GH¢4,800 in respect of 10,207 persons expected to be transferred from the Wa Municipal Scheme for 2006, had still not been released to his outfit as well as their identity cards processed to enable them benefit from the scheme.

Mr Daniel Dari, the District Chef Executive dispelled rumours circulating in the district that, that NHIS is a programme designed to benefit supporters of the New Patriotic Party. He said he was not aware of any requirement for one to state his or her political affiliation before being registered as a member of the scheme. After a series of hot exchanges, the meeting decided to accept a proposal to increase the premium from GH¢7.2 to GH¢8.2 and a fixed fee of one Ghana cedi for each identity card processed, including those for children. The high number of indigent in the district was also considered by the meeting and a commitment was made to assist the Management of the Scheme work to reduce it from 872 to about 200.

Source: GNA

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