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General News of Monday, 12 November 2012

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Ametor-Quarmyne: Akufo-Addo Is Out-Dated

The immediate past Deputy Director of Strategy and Corporate Affairs of the National Health Insurance Authority has described Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as completely out-dated and dangerous to Ghana’s health.
In an exclusive interview with a number of selected media houses last week, Mr. Eric Ametor-Quarmyne, who is the Rector of the Democratic Institute of Ghana (DIG), stated that recent pronouncements by the NPP presidential candidate was ample testimony of the fact that he is out of touch with developments in the country’s health sector as a whole, but in particularly as regards the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
He said, a presidential candidate of a leading opposition party must be ontop of issues to enable him or her have the proper understanding in order to craft the proper solutions to the country’s many problems, stating, “Akufo Addo has amply demonstrated beyond reasonable measure to the whole world that he does not possess the least knowledge about the country’s healthcare challenges and therefore does not deserve the mandate of Ghanaians.”
He stated that Akufo-Addo’s lack of knowledge of the health sector was badly exposed on three different occasions in recent times. He said the first was when he appeared on an IEA platform on 21st August, 2012, the second was at the Sunyani Nurse’s college when he spoke exclusively on health issues and the third was at the IEA presidential debate on October 30, 2012 when he was asked a specific question on what he would do to improve the health sector. “On all these three occasions, Nana Akufo-Addo was an apology of a person wanting to be president of a nation such as Ghana”, he said.
The former Deputy Director of Strategy and Corporate Affairs of the NHIA said Nana Akufo-Addo lied to the people of Ghana when he stated that the NHIS has collapsed without offering any proof, on 21st August 2012, at his first IEA encounter at the Kofi Annan ICT centre in Accra. He quoted Nana Akufo-Addo as having said “The last NPP government introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme to remove the constant fear of falling ill under the inhumane cash and carry system. It has been painful to watch the NDC government try its best to collapse the NHIS”.
Mr. Ametor-Quarmyne explained that one needed to assess at least three of the Scheme’s operational parameters such as the underlisted before one could come to any meaningful conclusions.
1. Membership, both cumulative and active
2. Utilization, which indicates how often the NHIS card is used by subscribers within a year, to access healthcare as and when the need arose in times of illness, and
3. The ability of the Scheme to pay healthcare service providers for services rendered to NHIS subscribers.
“All these three very critical parameters of the Scheme’s operations have shown tremendous and consistent growth over the last three and a half years from 2009 when the NDC Government took over the management of the Scheme, some to as much as over 170 percent over and above 2008 figures when the NPP was in power”, he emphasized.
Mr. Ametor-Quarmyne said Nana Akufo-Addo completely surprised him and many other Ghanaians when he announced at the Sunyani Nurses’ Training college on October 17, 2012 that, “we will offer all children free access to the NHIS. This means that parents no longer have to be a subscriber to the NHIS for a child to benefit. Millions more children will be covered by free healthcare.” He said that particular statement by Nana Akufo-Addo totally convinced him that the NPP presidential candidate was completely out-dated and out of touch with reality as his proposition is already being implemented dating as far back as 2009 by the NDC government, through an administrative directive, and children have been accessing free healthcare in their own right, free of charge through the NHIS, without having to be tied to their parents.
“ What is even more surprising about Nana Akufo-Addo’s ignorance on this issue” he said, “is that the move to decouple children from their parents actually started under the NPP in 2008, when a legislative instrument, the National Health Insurance (amendment) Regulations, 2008 LI 1951, gazetted on 7th November, 2008, was presented to Parliament, but, was not enacted, compelling the new NDC management to implement the change through an administrative directive as far back as 2009”.
He lamented that, the lack of knowledge on the part of Nana Akufo-Addo must be very deeply worrying to every Ghanaian, adding, “Isn’t it interesting that it has to take the President, John Mahama to educate him?”
The former Deputy Director said, Nana Akufo-Addo’s answer to what three things he considered most important to improve the country’s health sector was a diatribe on the NHIS, full of lies and contradictions to the extent that even increased hospital attendance(utilization) after the introduction of the NHIS is a sign of deterioration in the health status of Ghanaians. “It was most embarrassing, I must say, of a man who considers himself a presidential material. By World Health Organization standards, Ghana’s 3.0 OPD visits per year/per NHIS subscriber, achieved in 2011, has not yet even met the five(5) OPD visits per year recommended by WHO”, Ghana’s health sector is not the NHIS which is a social intervention programme designed to remove financial barriers to enable Ghanaians better access healthcare, saying, infrastructure and equipment, human resource and proper remunerations and incentives are what are required to improve the country’s health sector to enable it provide optimum healthcare services to Ghanaians.
Concluding, the former Deputy Director for Strategy and Corporate Affairs of the National Health Insurance Authority said Political parties and their leaders have self-imposed responsibilities to identify societal problems and the shortfalls of national institutions so as to proffer solutions to them and that those who seek to rule over others, must first demonstrate without fail that they are worthy of the people’s trust. “Nana Akufo-Addo lied through his teeth, in the face of such overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and that was most reprehensible. He is completely undeserving of our mandate to rule over us”, he emphasized.

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