Sylvester Beats Them All
The Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Sylvester Mensah definitely has something extra to celebrate in the wake of President John Mahama and the NDC’s victory at the polls over Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP.
Having identified Education and Health as the two most important aspects of life for most Ghanaians, the NPP not only started championing a phantom FREE SHS to hoodwink Ghanaians to vote for them but also began to bastardize the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in a bid to create disaffection among Ghanaians towards the NDC.
Deploying Adolf Hitler’s Propaganda master, Joseph Goebbels’ strategy that “a lie repeated over and over again becomes the truth”, Mr. Akufo-Addo, who, while promising a phantom FREE SHS began to shout from roof tops that the NHIS was collapsing. Then the party’s ‘Dogs of War’ in the health sector, especially Dr. Frimpong Boateng, former Chief Executive of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Ras Boateng, Former CEO of the NHIA, Dr. Nsiah Asare, a Former CEO of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and Dr. Richard Anane, a Former Minister for Health were all deployed to drive home the lie that the NHIS was collapsing under the NDC.
Suddenly, Sylvester Mensah and the NHIA were under siege. The NPP’s ‘Dogs of War’ were all over the media, screaming themselves hoarse that the NHIS was indeed collapsing. And, when the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rt. Rev. Prof. Martey joined the NPP chorus, declaring that the NHIS was collapsing and needed to be saved, NDC began to seem like a party heading for defeat. It was against the odds that Sylvester Mensah began to battle back, ably supported by his Public Affairs team including Dr. Nii Adjetey-Anann and Ametor Kwame.
The CEO of the NHIA must have had sleepless nights preparing for radio and TV programmes to counter the lies that were being bandied about. Hardly a day passed, from thereon, did Ghanaians not see him on TV or radio, explaining how buoyant the NHIS was doing. Of course, the reality that it is often difficult to fight lies with truth may have dawned on him as the NPP’s lying machine could be heard loudest.
He clashed with the NPP’s Dogs of War at various programmes. On Friday, August, 2012, on Radio Gold’s Power Drive, Sly, as Sylvester Mensah is affectionately called slugged it out with Dr. Richard Anane, Former Minister for Health who was part of those singing the ‘NHIS is collapsing’ chorus.
On Saturday, October 13, 2012, on Joy FM’s crossfire programme, he battled Ras Boateng, his predecessor. The hot exchanges nearly led to fisticuffs. Then at the 54th Annual General Conference of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) held at Cape Coast on Sunday, November 10, 2012, Sly was present to check Prof. Frimpong Boateng who had been sent there by the NPP to convince the doctors that the NHIS under the NDC was dying.
Then there was Dr. Nsiah Asare, Former Chief Executive of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, a member of the NPP team who continued to lie on the campaign trail that the introduction of capitation in the Ashanti Region was a deliberate NDC ploy to punish residents who have since 1992 failed to endorse candidates of the NDC.
Side by side the lies the NPP ‘Dogs of war’ were spewing were print media publications that put the NHIS in bad light.
The Daily Guide of July 5 2012, had the front page headline, “Capitation meant to kill” – Ex-KATH Boss. The October 24, 2012 edition of the same paper ran the front pages headline, NHIS Is Under Life Support.
The battle raged on; Sylvester Mensah against the ‘ Dogs of War’, from Viasat-1 through TV3 and Metro TV to the various radio stations. He held a one day workshop at the Alisa Hotel for journalists from all media houses to update them on how well the NHIS has been operated.
Then came judgement day and Ghanaians endorsed not only Quality Education over FREE SHS but also accepted that the NHIS was doing well. At long last, Sylvester Mensah had won the battle over the NPP ‘Dogs of War.’ Why won’t he have something extra to jubilate over?