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General News of Wednesday, 26 January 2005

Source: GNA

NHIS about ready in the Volta but...

Ho, Jan. 26, GNA - Indications are that all is smooth sailing towards the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in the Volta Region except for uncertainties about the conditions of service of personnel to manage the Scheme.

This impression emerged at a one-day sensitisation seminar at Ho on Tuesday for representatives of Departments and District Co-ordinating Directors (DCDs) on the state of preparedness towards the implementation of the District Mutual Health Insurance Schemes in the region.

The DCDs, who briefed the seminar on the levels of preparedness of the scheme in their respective districts were unanimous that the appropriate logistics and infrastructure have been provided except for Nkwanta District, which lacks computers, and could not attend the series of seminars for personnel of the scheme due to late receipt of invitation letters.

On the issue of allowances for personnel of the schemes, the DCDs said disparities among the various districts were demoralising the staff. According to the DCDs, the allowances being paid were from the "set-up funds" which some of them were supplementing with their own resources, hence the disparities.

They pointed that such set-up funds were getting exhausted without any clear-cut indications as to how and from where personnel allowances would be coming from in future.

It was also revealed that most of the applicants for the position of Managers of the project in the districts were graduates, some of whom had resigned from their former jobs in anticipation of better conditions of service under the schemes.

The DCDs therefore, called on the National Health Insurance Council to settle the issue of conditions of service for personnel in the districts, so as to facilitate their smooth implementation.

Meanwhile, The Volta Regional Co-ordinator of the NHIS, Mr Harry Tayvia has urged regional and district heads of departments in the region to get their staff to register with the District Mutual Health Insurance Schemes to enable them start enjoying the benefits of the scheme. Speaking at the sensitisation workshop on the scheme at Ho, he said formal sector workers could only enjoy the benefits of the scheme after they have registered with the scheme even though their contributions were being deducted for the past six months.

It was generally observed that, during the seminar, the informal sector was responding much more favourably to the scheme after the initial apprehensions.

Statistics provided by the Ho Municipal office of the Scheme for example, indicated that so far 7271 have registered from the informal sector compared with 981 from the formal sector.

A total of 1466 aged and 18017 dependants have also registered with the scheme.

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