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Regional News Thu, 27 Feb 2003

Lack of seed capital affects spread of Health Insurance in Eastern Region

The Eastern Regional Minister, Dr Francis Osafo-Mensah, has said that the region lacked the technical and financial support to commence the Health Insurance Scheme (HIS).

This was contained in a speech read on his behalf at a one-day-workshop to sensitise District Chief Executives, District Directors of Health Services and other stakeholders on the establishment of Mutual Health Insurance Organisations (MHO's) in their districts.

Dr Osafo-Mensah said the region's population of 2.1 million with poverty level of 44 percent, who live on less than 700,000 cedis per annum, coupled with a rural population of 47 percent made it a priority zone for the health insurance scheme.

He said as a result of the introduction of the cost recovery policy in 1987, many people had turned to self-medication and had fallen prey to quack medical practitioners.

Many had also been absconding from hospitals whilst the "silent majority" relied on unrefined traditional practitioners and have been "dying slowly" at home.

Dr Osafo-Mensah said the government had given its support to the establishment of District Health Insurance Schemes in the country to avoid such habits.

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He said last year, five districts in the region were selected for a pilot scheme. They were Kwahu South, Kwaebibirem, Asuogyaman, Manya Krobo and Akuapem North Districts.

The Minister said this year the government extended the scheme to cover five more districts in the region. They include Fanteakwa, Afram Plains, Suhum/Kraboa/Coaltar, Birim North and Yilo Krobo Districts.

Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyirah, Eastern Regional Director of Health Services, said recent events were proving the inadequacies of the government's Exemption Fund to meet the requirements of the people.

He said last year, the Ministry of Health allocated one billion cedis under the Fund to the Eastern Region but the amount was found to be inadequate and left most of the hospitals with a lot of unpaid supplies.

Dr Appiah Denkyirah explained that such conditions called for "more better and less stressful way" of health financing like the Health Insurance Scheme.

Source: .
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