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General News of Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Source: The Chronicle

Kufuor fights NHIA over capitation grant in Ashanti

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has added his voice to concerns by some residents in the Ashanti Region over the implementation of the National Health Insurance Authority Capitation Programme, describing the policy as discriminatory against residents in the region.

Mr. Agyekum Kufuor says he finds it extremely difficult to understand why the government and for that matter the NHIA insists on implementing the policy, despite consistent cries from both service providers and residents in the region.

The former President was particularly worried that a policy which is supposed to be a pilot one, should last for almost two years without a review, a situation he noted, smacks off discrimination.

Speaking on KESSBEN FM in Kumasi on Monday, the former President, whose government introduced the novelty policy to ensure the delivery of quality healthcare to Ghanaians, said the idea of the scheme was to afford each and every citizen the opportunity to access quality and affordable health services.

He was, therefore, surprised that such a laudable policy was being toyed with by the current administration thereby endangering the lives of many Ghanaians.

Mr. Kufuor said it was about time the government and the NHIA listened to the many distressed voices of residents in the region and urgently review the policy since it was not in the interest of the good health of many Ghanaians.

“Why should you keep on implementing a policy when the people who are supposed to benefit are crying and calling for its abrogation,” he questioned. The decision by the authority to implement the pilot programme in the region two years ago was met with stiffer opposition from health providers and civil society groups who fought unsuccessfully to get the NHIA to rescind the decision.

Recent fall in the number of patronage of the scheme in the region has largely been blamed on the capitation policy, with some subscribers claiming that they do not receive the best care anytime they attend hospital with their NHIS cards.

Some service providers also complain they have been running at a loss because the capitation grant per person is not enough to take care of patients. The capitation was introduced into the Ashanti Region in January 2012 as a pilot policy to streamline alleged excesses and abuse of the scheme by service providers.

The policy ties a subscriber down to one service provider for at least six months, it would eliminate the situation where a subscriber could visit three different service providers within a short period of time (sometimes as short as a day or two) and obtain three different sets of medicines or services for the same condition.

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