THE health of a people determines to a very large extent the level of development of the community in which they find themselves.
For this reason, when the New Patriotic Party government came to power in 20001, it decided to implement the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in line with the party’s manifesto, with the sole objective of improving the health of Ghanaians.
Many people continue to enjoy the benefits of the scheme, making it one of the best policies introduced by the current government.
For the people of Ahafo Ano South District, the coming into being of the NHIS has been a great blessing, something they will forever cherish.
Health financing in the country has for a very long time been one of the major problems successive governments had battled with in order to find an antidote to it.
Ahafo Ano South is a deprived district. Many of the inhabitants are subsistence farmers with virtually no meaningful income.
The Health Insurance was, therefore, welcome news. Presently, the scheme has registered 34,723 members.
They are made up of 17,988 children under 18 years, 3,545 above 70 years, 720 Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) pensioners, 2,640 formal sector (SSNIT) contributors and 9,830 informal sector members.
Out of the 43,220 registered members, 34,220 have been issued with their identity cards with 503 awaiting their cards.
The Scheme Manager, Mr Vincent Kofi Ackam, is happy about the enthusiasm shown by the people towards the intervention, and was convinced that more would join it in the coming months.
By the end of March, this year, the scheme had collected GH¢28,665 from its internal sources as premium, while GH¢140,940.4 came from the National Health Insurance Authority as subsidies.
Getting money to pay for the premium has been a major challenge of the people and to address the problem, the management of the scheme has devised a strategy under which the amount is paid by instalment.
The scheme had by March, this year, paid a total of GH¢192,592.76 as claims to its health providers in and outside the district.
For a scheme of such nature to be welcomed by the people, there is the need for intensive education. This is the reason why the authorities of the district’s scheme have embarked on a special programme where the office is taken to the communities to register new clients and renew the membership of the old ones.
In spite of the benefits accruing from the scheme, there are some challenges that must be addressed to enable it to achieve its set targets.
The problems include multiple visits to the hospitals by clients, and low renewal and registration rates. It has been very difficult for the authorities to check the multiple visits to the hospitals but the authorities believe that tackling low registration can deal with the problem.
For instance, people with the financial means can register members of their families who cannot pay the premium.
The Public Relations Manager (PRO) of the scheme, Mr George Kofi Abey, assured the clients of better health care from the accredited health providers.