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Regional News Fri, 27 Feb 2009

NHIS Owes Upper East service providers 2.8 Million Ghana Cedis

Bolgatanga, Feb 27, GNA - The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) owes service providers in the Upper East Region 2.8 million Ghana Cedis. The Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Koku Awoonor- Williams, disclosed this during the 2008 sector Performance Review Meeting held in Bolgatanga on Friday.

He said if the situation was not reversed the operation of the NHIS would come under threat, thereby affecting health delivery services. He also mentioned the delay in submission of claims by service providers, long hours spent by clients to receive services, delay in reimbursement of claims by scheme to providers, staff work overload due to critical shortage of staff, poor management of patients records, and frivolous consumption of services by the insured as some of the challenges of the scheme in the Region.

"Inadequate infrastructure due to large number of patients, poor staff attitudes and poor reception of clients by some staff have also on many instances brought the corporate image of the Ghana Health Service into dispute," the Regional Director said.

Dr Awoonor-Williams urged the NHIS Authority to come out with strategies to address the problem, adding "as a poor and deprived region, we cannot afford to lose the health gains chalked under the Scheme in the recent past".

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He noted that despite the challenges, the scheme in the Region had performed creditably and said service providers' financial situation had generally improved with the NHIS. Moreover, health facilities in the region were implementing the scheme with new tariffs, in addition to the free maternal delivery policy, he said.

Dr Awoonor-Williams said as a result of this, health insurance coverage increased from 44 per cent in 2007 to 74.3 per cent in 2008, with community health officers' clients accounting for almost 10 per cent of health facilities attendances.

The Regional Health Director also indicated that the implementation of the scheme had led to continuous increase in the utilization of health services in the region's outpatients' attendance, which increased by 32 per cent from 764, 817 in 2007 to 1,081.650 in 2008. Dr. Awoonor-Wiliams said malaria continued to top the Out Patient Department attendance and admission list in the region with a total of 454,257 cases seen and 21,307 on admission in 2008. Total death from malaria was 380 in 2008, with 107 deaths reported in Bolgatanga Municipality alone.

He indicated that the disease surveillance and response systems were effective as the Directorate was able to contain the CSM outbreak in Kassena-Nanakana District and anthrax in Talensi-Nabdam and Garu-Tempane. He said 16 cases of Anthrax were reported with six confirmed and four deaths, and a total of 158 CSM cases were reported in 2008 with 36 deaths. Dr Awoonor-Williams said HIV prevalence rate in the region currently stood at 2.5 per cent, and that no cases of cholera and guinea worm were recorded in 2008.

Source: GNA
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