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General News of Sunday, 7 July 2019

Source: XYZ

Eric Opoku slams Akufo-Addo over ‘struggling’ NHIS

Former Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Hon. Eric Opoku has heavily criticised the Akufo-Addo administration for “collapsing” the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Mr. Opoku who was speaking on Dwaboase on Power 97.9 FM said the NHIS is struggling under the current Akufo-Addo government because 25% of the National Health Insurance Funds has been diverted.

Touching on the current challenges facing the NHIS, he revealed it is because the NPP government are not originators of the scheme hence the wobbly nature of the scheme.

“The government diverts 25% of the NHIS funds to another sector. The law was passed in parliament to get the government feed on the NHIS Funds to support its other projects like the One Village, One Dam and its promise of 1 million dollars for every constituency,” the MP noted and stressed that same had been extended to the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) and other 6 statutory funds.

According to the Member of Parliament (MP) for Asunafo South in the Ahafo Region, the NHIS will continue to struggle because the membership contributions cannot cater for the health needs of the people under the NHIS.

“Because the NPP government is not the originators of the NHIS, they are collapsing the scheme. During the Mahama administration, we managed the scheme well, but today the scheme is struggling to survive because the funds are not enough to cater for its expenses. Today, if you go to many NHIS offices, they cannot print new membership cards for people because there is no money to print them,” Hon. Opoku added.

He said the erstwhile NDC government did its best to maintain the NHIS to serve millions of Ghanaians, but currently, same cannot be said about this NPP government.

Mr Opoku is not the only Parliamentary that has shown concerns over the struggles of the NHIS.

In April this year, Ranking Member on Parliament’s Health Committee, Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandoh raised similar concerns and said the government was collapsing the Scheme with its new management style.

He told Ete Sen host on Radio XYZ, Prince Minkah that the scheme was struggling and could not pay service providers for services rendered to the Scheme’s subscribers for almost a year because the government kept using NHIS funds for other projects not aligned to the core mandate of the institution.

That followed a Parliamentary Report of the Committee of the Whole on the Proposed Formula for the disbursement of National Health Insurance Funds for 2019, which indicated that part of the NHIS fund was used in paying the allowances of trainee nurses.

An amount of GHS358.85 million was released to the Ministry of Health to help fund the National Health Insurance Scheme but a total of GHS163.66 million of that money was used to pay nurse trainee allowances, the report stated.

Mr Akando who confirmed the said report also indicated that NHIS fund to the tune of GHS238.65 million was also used to support the Ministry of Health and sometimes to build education infrastructure – a situation he bemoaned and attributed to the “near collapse” of the NHIS.

“This is outrageous and unacceptable because the Ministry [of Health] should rather be supporting the NHIS,” he added.

“I’m not against the payment of the allowances. He promised that he will pay the allowances. I didn’t make that promise, but the president must not use the NHIS fund.

“NHIS money is not for supporting of the Health ministry, buying anti-snake venom, paying trainee nurses allowances, and building schools.”

He said the subscribers of NHIS has been reducing since the NPP took over power, indicating that the people were not satisfied with the services the Scheme.

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