General News of Monday, 5 November 2012
Source: Ministry of Health
I have been compelled to issue this statement for three main reasons: The first reason is to dispel the untruth put out by the flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo-Addo, at the recently held presidential debate in Tamale about a false statement he alleged to have come from me.
The second reason is to reassure the millions of Ghanaian subscribers of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) that the ratings and the outlook of this landmark social safety net are higher and better than ever before under the four year tenure of the NDC Government; and thirdly, to demand an unqualified apology from the NPP flag bearer, for not only deliberately twisting the facts, but also attempting to denigrate my reputation and that of my office as the Minister for Health.
The NPP flag bearer curiously alleged at some point during his presentation at the presidential debate that my good self Alban Bagbin, had stated somewhere (only he could tell the world where), that the NHIS was “collapsing” and he left the matter at that.
Granted even that I ever did make such a wild prognosis regarding the scheme that is the source of comfort to well over 10 million of our compatriots nationwide, it stands to reason that I must have also proposed a solution. But dear reader, as you saw and heard, it was not in the interest of the man who wants to rule Ghana one day to venture further by giving me the smallest bit of credit!
Happily, H.E. President John Mahama gave enough evidence with facts and figures to demonstrate to the many discerning people who watched and listened to the debate, that this purely cooked up allegation about the collapse of the NHIS and attributed to me, had no substance. I want to add my voice the President’s rebuttal that night that I have never said any such reckless thing on any platform anywhere. And I dare the flag bearer and his cheer leaders to prove their point.
No well-meaning Ghanaian should describe the NHIS as “collapsing” when the scheme by all the most critical measures is actually stronger now than before. And the evidence lies in the over 10 million of our population who since the NDC won power in 2008, have been voting emphatically for the scheme day-in, day-out.
On the one-time payment policy, which the NPP again appears in a mad rush to discredit is indeed another of our creative responses to scaling up the revenue base of premium income from its currently insignificant level of 4.5%. It may seem impractical to some politicians whose main preoccupation is to ensure that this country fails or is perceived to be failing under the NDC leadership.
But this policy which is intended to generate more funds to guarantee sustainability of the NHIS, in reality is informed by the Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal health coverage for all in the long term. If you cannot support such a policy to succeed, you do not denigrate it for sheer political sport.
And despite all the evidence provided to the contrary, we have taken note that the NPP flag bearer and his cheerleaders have consistently perpetrated falsehood on the NHIS despite vehement clarifications of the issues. In their unholy haste to gain political power, one cannot help but wonder whose side the NPP is on - on the side of the doom mongers in our society? Or on the side of the queuing masses of patients who are benefiting from the NHIS?
Finally, I demand an unqualified apology from the NPP flag bearer, for not only deliberately twisting facts for sheer political sport, but also attempting to denigrate my reputation and that of my office as the Minister for Health. And as I have had the occasion to say before, if some folks would not support me to do my job, they have no business peddling convoluted arguments, marinated with unhelpful half truths just to score cheap political points as the NPP flag bearer has attempted to do!
ALBAN SUMANA BAGBIN
(MINISTER OF HEALTH)