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Health News of Thursday, 26 February 2015

Source: GNA

Healthcare delivery in Western Region threatened

The Western Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service has warned that it would cease providing services to clients of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) if the Authority did not settle its outstanding debts immediately.

Dr. Emmanuel Tinkorang, Western Regional Health Director, pointed out that about 95 percent of their clients were NHIS card holders, therefore, the failure by the NHIA to immediately reimburse claims of service providers would pose serious challenges to healthcare services in the Region.

He made this known at the Annual Performance Review Meeting of the Ghana Health Service in Takoradi, to take stock of the year under review, as well as assess their challenges and achievements and chart the way forward.

The event, which was held on the theme, "Improving Data to facilitate the Achievement of Health- related Millennium Development Goals”, brought together health professionals and key stakeholders in the health sector from the 22 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies in the Region.

Dr. Tinkorang indicated that the NHIA had paid claims of health service providers in the Region for up to June 2014, and warned that if the NHIA did not pay the remaining amount in earnest, it would ground health services to a halt.

He, therefore, appealed to the NHIA to urgently resolve the issue with dispatch to avoid any eventualities.

Dr. Tinkorang observed that last year was a challenging year for the Health Service in view of the outbreak of cholera, as well as the threat of Ebola AN outbreak following reported cases in Guinea, Liberia and other West African countries.

He said maternal and newborn mortality rate also went up and still remained a major public health challenge, with the Region recording 93 maternal mortality last year, compared to 87 cases recorded in 2013.

According to him, the health directorate had resolved to strengthen the maternal health audit team, as well as to continue the Life Saving Skills training of health workers, and also introducing a half-year review conference to assess the situation.

He expressed regret that the performance of tuberculosis control in the Region was far below expectation, saying the TB cure rate was declining, especially in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis.

He, therefore, called for the reactivation of the TB control activities in order to improve case detection, reduce defaulter rate and increase treatment success rate.

The Regional Health Director explained that although the Region performed well in the Expanded Programme of Immunization and Integrated Disease Surveillance, the number of polio cases detected increased from 22 in 2013 to 47 in 2014.

He, therefore, encouraged them to do their best this year, to curb any further infection.

He commended health professionals and stakeholders for contributing towards the eradication of guinea worm infestation in the country, saying Ghana had been certified as a guinea worm free country following the International assessment by the World Health Organisation last year.

In an address, Mr. Alfred Ekow Gyan, the Deputy Regional Minister, pledged the government’s commitment to provide the necessary financial and logistical support to the Ghana Health Service to ensure quality health delivery.

He said the Government had put mechanisms in place to ensure the payment of the backlog of arrears of the NHIS claims and, subsequently, effect payments of monthly claims without any more delays.

The Minister advised health service providers to do due diligence by ensuring that claims were submitted timeously in order to afford the NHIA the opportunity to vet them and effect payment on time.

He observed that the Region experienced improvements in some health indicators, especially with community-based health post services and out- patients’ attendance.

He, therefore, commended health workers for their hard work in curbing the cholera outbreak last year and maintaining the country’s Ebola free status and thus, urged them not to rest on their oars.