Health News of Thursday, 15 November 2012
Source: mathias aboba
- Mathias Aboba-Bolga
Health Sector performance in the Upper East Region, one of the most deprived regions in the country continue to attract a lot of commendation from within and beyond the shores of Ghana with the latest coming from the Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of the nation’s biggest health financing authority the National Health Insurance Authority (NHA), Mr Sylvester Mensah.
The CEO of the NHIA made the observation when he paid a courtesy call on the Upper East Regional Director of Health Services Dr. John Koku Awoonor-Williams at the Regional Health Directorate and interacted with management and staff of health services.
Mr. Mensah expressed his delight at the remarkable strides the region has made and continue to make in all major health indicators and said many people in the country and beyond remain dazzled by the sterling performance of the health sector in a deprived region such as the Upper East Region. “In the past four years I am aware many regions in the country and even beyond have looked to the Upper East Region for best practices in major health areas including maternal, and child health. For me there is nothing strange: the feats achieved by the region are not by magic or accident but strong and committed leadership which is there for all to see” he observed.
He entreated management and staff of health services in the region and the country at large to have confidence in the National Health Insurance Scheme as management of the scheme work to deliver on the promise of adequate health financing for better health and development of the nation.
Mr. Mensah expressed surprise that some individuals and groups in the country have refused to appreciate the remarkable progress the scheme has made in the past few years and continue to make allegations that discourage and destroy the confidence ordinary Ghanaians have in the scheme. He said management of the scheme are ready to tolerate criticism from well-meaning Ghanaians as long as those criticisms are constructive and issue based.
Health insurance he indicated is a virgin path travelled by Ghana and many other countries around the world there is no point therefore denying the fact that the people at the helm of affairs of the NHIA will have to continue to make and implement the best management decisions to ensure the scheme stays alive and vibrant to fulfil its mission.
Responding to concern raised by some health staff over discrepancies in health facility accreditation and commodity prices and related issues Mr. Mensah said the Health Insurance Authority has no intentions to take over the accreditation of health facilities from the mandated regulatory agencies, as such anybody with information contrary to the existing arrangement should not hesitate to report such a case for immediate remedy.
He admitted that complains over prices of medical commodities, both drugs and non drugs have come to the attention of the scheme authorities and said all such complains are receiving serious attention. The NHIA CEO hinted that the scheme have began a major price and benefit-package review discussion with stakeholders in health and believe by the beginning of 2013 the issue of pricing and other related distortions would be settled.
He called on the public to continue to have confidence in the scheme and work together to bring to the fore all issues that present threats to the development and progress of the nation’s health insurance scheme for attention and remedy.
The Regional Director of Health Services Dr. John Koku Awoonor Williams, thanked the NHIA boss for the visit and challenged his authority to find solutions to the implementation challenges that have emerged over the eight years of experimentation of the policy so that the scheme will continue to serve the social protection function it was set up to do.
The NHIA boss who was in the region on official visit later proceeded to visit some facilities of the scheme and witness the commissioning by the President His Excellency John Dramani Mahama of a multi-storey ultra modern office complex for the regional administration of the NHIS.