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Opinions of Sunday, 8 November 2015

Columnist: Abdulai, Alhaji Alhasan

NHIA on the move, requires support and prayers of all

By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

Since the elevation of Mr. Nathaniel Otoo from Deputy Chief Executive Officer to the top position of Chief Executive Officer of National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), he has proved equal to the tasks assigned him by the President John Dramani Mahama. He has not rested on his oars after he was pushed to the top but has hit the ground running moving around the country on a regular basis to preach on the virtues of the Authority and share information on the challenges facing his outfit. As an insider he is a living witness of the rapid growth of the insurance scheme from 1.5 million subscribers in 2006 to the current number of 11 million and knows that the increase in numbers though positive also poses challenges. As he goes round speaking to Ghanaians he has been saying that The scheme requires to cough out huge money to pay for medical bills of subscribers who now account for about 90 percent of hospital attendance in Ghana. His outfit according to hi has been doing all it could to pay up its debts. In one of such visits to the home of National Chief Imam Sheikh Usman Nuhu Sharubutu and his advisors Mr. Otoo said the scheme receives the same level of income from the subscribers and from vat and workers on Social Security and National Insurance Trust since 2006 which is now adequate. The authority has therefore devised various means of safeguarding the scheme’s income to be able to pay service providers of the scheme. Mr. Otoo said the scheme has resorted to capitation system in order that all subscribers would be made to choose one service provider to ensure that good attention is given them while at the same time the providers are also paid regularly. This system has been tried in the Ashanti Region where it first faced resistance but with time has proved to be successful with the subscribers and the service providers cooperating well under it. This system is so far being extended to the Northern, Upper East and West and then the rest of the country. Apart from the capitation system the scheme has also posted its some of its staffs to the nation’s hospitals and clinics to check the cards of subscribers to ensure that only the legitimate ones are presented. This is meant to do away with fraud and impersonation experienced under the scheme in the past. In speaking to the National Chief Imam and his advisors Mr. Otoo said for some time now some leading staffs of the scheme has been sent round the country to sensitize people on the mandate and the operations of the scheme in order to solicit the views of citizens on ways to improve its activities. He thanked the National Chief Imam and his advisors for warmly receiving him and his entourage and said that as leaders of Muslims the scheme would like to work closely with them. He asked the Imams and advisors to speak to their congregation on the programs of the scheme and the changes and improvements being provided to it. He singled out the National Chief Imam for mention and praise as a man of God who is also a philanthropist who feeds people day and night at his home, accommodate strangers free of charge and pay fees for students. With this impressive show of love by the Chief Imam, Mr. Otoo said he is the right person who can partner the NHIA to ensure its success by sensitizing the teeming Muslims in Ghana about its activities. Mr. Otoo has done so well so far and it is required the National Chief Imam and his Regional Imams and advisers would offer prayers for him and the NHIA even as they pontificate the good deeds of the scheme during their Friday and daily congregational prayers.
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