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General News of Monday, 25 May 2015

Source: tv3network.com

We can’t access NHIS cards – Wa residents

Accessing new national health insurance cards or renewing existing ones nationwide, is an arduous task in most parts of Ghana largely due to the huge number of clients coupled with a seeming poor system used by the scheme.

But in the Wa municipality of the Upper West Region, one often has to be connected to a worker at the registration center, who will smuggle the registration form that will later qualify the person for early registration.

Which means, an avenue to bribery and corruption has been created.

TV3's Upper West Regional Correspondent, Yakubu Abdul-Gafur, who experienced the difficulties one has to go through to access the NHIS card, says as early as 3am on Saturday, he visited the Wa Municipal Health Insurance Office to register for the scheme together with his three-year old daughter.

Abdul-Gafur says his reason for going very early, was because he could not register the previous days as a result of the difficulties at the center.

Also due to the risk of being attacked by armed robbers while commuting to other areas for the registration, most residents converge at that particular registration center at about 5:00am.

As at 8:00am that Saturday, workers at the Wa Municipal NHIS center had not started work although they were to work for just half of the day.

Abdul-Gafur says when he demanded to know why work had not started, one of the workers who was present said the one whose duty was to boot the computer at 7:00am for work to start, was playing football at his leisure time and will only be available after 9am.

According to Abdul-Gafur, the poor and corrupt system at the Wa NHIS office inflicts a huge burden on residents on daily basis, as some who had gathered confirmed to him.

"At 9:05 am when the worker we had been waiting for arrived after the information go to him. Few minutes before the registration commenced, the registration room was already choked. Some people were asked to stay outside until they are done with those in the room before they can start registering from the queue" Gafur narrated.

"I was verbally assaulted for questioning the irregularities at the facility. One guy told me that if I was there to talk about my right then I should go and come on week days”.

The Upper West Deputy Regional Minister, Dr. Mushaidu Alfa had earlier directed the management of the Wa Municipal NHIS to accommodate the needed number of people they can register in a day in order to avoid the hustle people go through such as having to sleep on the veranda at their premises.

But it appears his directive has fallen on deaf ears or has simply been ignored.

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