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Health News of Friday, 23 November 2018

Source: ghananewsagency.org

NHIA ups measures to achieve Universal Health Care

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has upped measures through undertaking vigorous reforms to strengthen the scheme and boost membership.

According to Management, the Authority is determined to register at least 99 per cent of the Ghanaian population under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to push the country to achieve Universal Health Care (UHC) of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

As at 2017, the NHIS had registered 37 per cent of the national population, approximately 10.58 million active members, with about 45 per cent of them being in the informal sector.

But, interacting with the media on Thursday in Sunyani, Mr Oswald Essuah-Mensah, a Deputy Director responsible for membership and regional operations of the NHIA, said the Scheme was going through reforms to boost membership and to strengthen it as well.

He said the Authority is aware of the inconveniences members went through during renewals, adding it has therefore developed an electronic application system that would enable beneficiaries to renew their membership through their mobile phones.

The mobile application, expected to take-off in 2019 would enable members to easily to renew their memberships either at their homes, offices or any other location without necessarily walking to the offices of the NHIS.

Various offices and outlets of the NHIS in the country would then concentrate on the registration of new members, he said.

Mr Essuah-Mensah said because of operational inefficiencies and challenges, the Scheme was bedeviled with fraud and announced that the NHIA was currently finalizing processes to obtain fiat from the Attorney-General to empower the Authority to prosecute.

He said the legal Unit of the Authority has engaged five legal practitioners for that purpose and cautioned service providers who forged and duplicated claims to desist from that as offenders would be prosecuted.

The Deputy Director warned employees against embezzlement and appealed to the media to help intensify public sensitization about the new reforms being undertaken by the Authority to increase membership.

He reminded the media of their constitutional obligations in helping to minimize fraud, and called on practitioners to discharge their watchdog duties in a more proactive manner to control and prevent fraud in the country.

Currently, Mr Essuah-Mensah said 517 medicine lists were placed on the NHIS and had 4,500 Service Providers, regretting that because 80 per cent of claims were prepared manually it was difficult to tackle fraud.

He expressed optimism that the Authority would take advantage of technology to tighten its internal control systems.