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Feature Article of Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Columnist: Daily Post

…Of The NHIS: Why Is The NPP So Dishonest?

He ease with which the NPP resorts to dishonesty in a bid to win political power is quite shocking. Indeed, this opposition party has proven over the years that it will be ready to claim that there is no God if it will help it win political power.

A typical example of the NPP’s to resort to sheer dishonesty to deceive Ghanaians in order to win political power is the reason it has churned out to deceive Ghanaians that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is collapsing.

Writing in his Column Affirmatively Disruptive in the DALY GRAPHIC of Saturday November 17, 2012, Dr. Sodzi Sodzi-Tettey, a renowned Medical Practitioner who is also the Immediate past General-Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) cannot believe that the very reason the NPP cited as indications that the NHIS is expanding when they were in power is now the one they point to as an indication that the NHIS is collapsing.

“There is no consistency, unfortunately” he states of the NPP’s arguments concerning the increases in OPD utilization. “When utilization improved from about five million to 12.5 million between 2007 and 2008, it was very much interpreted (by the NPP) as a sign of expanding coverage and growing access… . Utilization of OPD services has risen from 12.5 million to 25.4million between 2008 and 2011. While the NDC maintains that this “is evidence of the growth and expansion of the NHIS”, the NPP would have us believe that this means more people are getting sick! How one indicator can be subjected to different interpretations based on political convenience is what remains baffling to many” he writes.

At the IEA Presidential Debate in Tamale, many were taken aback when the NPP’s flag-bearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, argued forcefully, loudly, verbosely and roaring with laughter said the increase in utilization is indicative that the NHIS is collapsing. However, some were not surprise at the claim of the NPP flag-bearer. It was obvious to them that the NPP flag-bearer did not have a clue about what the NHIS is all about and therefore did not understand what ‘utilization’ means. The proof of Akufo-Addo’s ignorance was soon to be expose when he was asked what three health policy initiatives he would implement if he becomes the next President of Ghana; his answer was that the “NHIS is collapsing”

Obviously, the NPP flag-bearer is not even aware that the NHIS takes care of only the affordability of the health needs of Ghanaians and that it is not responsible for putting up health facilities such a hospitals and health training schools or providing of the human resource such as doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and many more. He can therefore be pardon for being deceived by his advisors to believe that increase in utilization means more people are getting sick.

The just released World Bank report on health financing in Ghana exposes the NPP’s deceit about the NHIS even more.

In the report titled “Health Financing in Ghana” the World Bank said the increase in outpatient utilization shows how strong Ghana’s NHIS is adding that the “coverage under the NHIS led to better utilization by the poor of health facilities”

Now, the verdict is out! The NHIS under the NDC and under the management of Sylvester Mensah has been given a clean bill of health by an international organisation that is often very often critical of government agencies in developing countries. Everyone understands that increase in utilization that is increase in the number of times registered members use the scheme, simply means the NHIS is being used effectively by Ghanaians which again means patients paying cash (Cash & Carry) at delivery points has been reduced to the barest minimum. The only people who, thinking in the reverse direction, say it means more Ghanaians are falling sick is the NPP. But who says the NPP does not know the truth. They know the truth but since it would not serve their purposes, they have decided to be dishonest about it, lie and hope that really, a lie repeated over and over again becomes the truth.

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