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Health News of Thursday, 26 February 2015

Source: GNA

Pensioners Medical Scheme Identity Card unveiled

The National Pensioners Association (NPA of SSNIT) has unveiled a Pensioners Medical Scheme (PMS) identity card in Accra to complement the National Health Insurance Scheme in meeting members health needs.

The scheme, registered with Liberty Mutual Health Scheme, a Private Health Insurance Company, would cater for drugs that are not on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) drug list.

Unveiling the identity card, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, commended NPA for its efforts in getting additional health scheme for members to address their health needs.

He urged all health institutions not to subject the PMS card bearers to bureaucratic processes as was the case with the NHIS card holders.

Mr Haruna said the welfare and the well-being of the elderly was very important on the Government's agenda.

He said to that effect, he was advocating, through the Public Service Workers Union and Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), for the establishment of Health Sector Support Fund to take care of workers’ health needs after retirement.

Mr Haruna said he proposed a voluntary contribution of between GH¢3.00 and GH¢4.00 per month from workers’ salaries to set up the fund, which would be managed by workers themselves with government playing supervisory role to ensure its judicious management.

The Minister said: “When established and managed well the fund would help address ailments that National Health Insurance Scheme does not cover and it can be depended on as a supplementary to NHIS”.

“With that monthly contribution by workers we can accumulate about 150 million cedis a year to manage the fund,” he said and pledged his support to facilitate the move if workers would buy into the idea.

Mr Haruna, therefore, promised to liaise with the Minister of Health on the issue of reviewing the NHIS drug list periodically to promote good health of the elderly.

Mr Edward Ameyibor, General Secretary of NPA, said the idea to have PMS came up during their Quadrennial National Delegates Conference in 2012 in Kumasi.

He said though some members received the idea with mixed reactions as to its sustainability “we are grateful to God that after three years He has given us the grace to push our dream to reality”.

He said the identity cards would be the evidence members would produce at the selected health care centres, pharmacies, laboratories, and eye care centres to receive treatment and purchase drugs.

“The PMS, let us remember is a top-up to the NHIS, so we will carry both when we seek medical attention,” he said.

Mr Ameyibor advocated the prioritising of geriatric healthcare in all government hospitals and for a national policy of post-retirement healthcare.

“We believe that the future good health of our retired persons should be of concern to everybody currently working and to the corporate bodies they worked for and to government.

“We, therefore, propose organised labour show greater interest in the issue of post-retirement health care, geriatric care and collaboration with pensioner groups to ensure the building of a national fund to help in catastrophic illness covering all citizens of every age group especially the elderly who are mainly neglected.

“We also propose that corporate social responsibility should move from charity to a purposeful contribution to assist medical research and building a post-retirement health care fund,” he added.

The occasion also coincided with the ceremonial take-off of the Henry Dei Pensioners Recreational Centre, built by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) for its pensioners.

There were solidarity messages from other associations such as Ghana Government Pensioners Association, Veteran Association of Ghana and affiliated organisations such as SSNIT and Help Age Ghana.

Access Bank Ghana Limited is the fund manager for NPA Pension Medical Scheme.