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Business News of Monday, 14 August 2017

Source: dailyguideafrica.com

Government clears GHC560m NHIS debt

Government has cleared a whopping GH¢560 million out of the GH¢GH¢1.2 billion debt owed to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

It was one of the debts inherited from the erstwhile Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration, which almost collapsed the Scheme because it failed to reimburse the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) after collecting the money accruing from the levy.

But President Akufo-Addo is confident that his government would make good the balance within the next 12 months.

“So far, government has, by dint of prudent management within the short space of seven months, cleared GH¢560 million out of the GH¢1.2 billion of debt inherited,” he said on Saturday when he delivered a speech at the 50th congregation, oath taking and induction ceremony of the School of Medical Sciences of the University of Cape Coast, the Central Regional capital.

Reiterating his determination to solve the problem of unpaid bills to health care providers, President Akufo-Addo noted that the NHIS is at the core of the country’s health delivery system, and that government has a duty to make it work.

Issues

Touching on communicable diseases, President Akufo-Addo indicated, “It requires better sanitation, and not better medication, to deal with cholera, which seems to have reared its ugly head again in our country, especially since 2014. I hope that such programmes, as you have instituted here, would position the students to play good advocacy roles as healthcare providers within the communities they work after their studies.”

Outlining the problems that bedevil the health sector – such as the challenge of bridging the equity gap in access to healthcare between urban and rural Ghana, the production and distribution of health personnel, and high under-five and maternal mortality rates, the president noted that some of the answers lie in improving the physical infrastructure of the health sector.

His government, he assured, would strive to complete ongoing projects in the country, as well as expand health promotion programmes, scale up disease prevention strategies and enhance access to curative and emergency services.

On the BOT arrangement being entered into with a Canadian group to build infrastructure at the university, President Akufo-Addo observed that such initiatives are admirable and are to be expected from a university, whose chancellor is one of the most renowned entrepreneurs of Ghana.

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“I hasten, however, to add a word of caution. I think we should learn from previous and unfortunate bitter experience, that such arrangements should not be done on the blind side of government. I will strongly urge, if you have already not done so, that you seek the blessing of the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Attorney-General to the arrangement,” the president underscored.

He continued, “There is currently a difficult situation at the University of Ghana that should serve as a useful lesson for all public tertiary institutions, which seek to engage in such arrangements.”

Government, President Akufo-Addo indicated, would continue to make capital outlays in the health sector, and had begun to undertake a number of healthcare projects across the country to bring the provision of healthcare delivery to the doorsteps of the people.

All these projects, he added, are geared towards expanding health facilities in the country and creating ready job opportunities for students in health disciplines in the country.

“We have a duty to ensure that this school is well-equipped to produce capable medical doctors with all the skills needed to improve the quality of medical practice in our country. It is my expectation and hope that graduates from this school will be motivated to take on the challenge and the opportunities for higher achievement through innovation and creativity, in the science and technology-led, knowledge-driven global economy,” the president said.