Politics of Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Source: Daily Democrat

Medical Officer Exposes Akufo-Addo’s Lies About NHIS

In a desperate bid to get into the Presidency and realizing
that the NDC Administration has done a yeoman’s job so far, it is becoming
obvious that NPP flag-bearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, has decided to peddle lies to
decieve Ghanaians to give him the mantle of power.
Interestingly, he seems to have succeeded to
convince a few so far, including even some members of the clergy, with his pack
of lies. But many discerning Ghanaians have seen through the lies and some are
seriously voicing out their concerns.
The latest to do so is Dr. Sodzi Sodzi Tetteh, a
practicing Medical Doctor and a very influential member of Ghana’s Medical
Association (GMA). In fact, he is the immediate past General Secretary of the
GMA and is currently working with the Catholic Medical Services.
In an article published on Page 10 of the State-owned Daily Graphic of Saturday,
15, 2012, Dr. Tetteh exposed the fallacy and the blatant lies on which
Akufo-Addo and the NPP based their Health Manifesto on, a clear evidence that
the flag-bearer and his party simply want to take Ghanaians for a ride.
For example, thanks to Dr. Sodzi Sodzi Tetteh, we
find that the NPP manifesto, on the initiatives it will take to boost capacity
in mental health delivery, concocted figures about the number of psychiatrists
in the country at the moment.
“According to Ghana’s
Chief Psychiatrist however, though more (Psychiatrist) are needed, the country
now has fourteen psychiatrists and not the five indicated in the (NPP) manifesto”
Why would a serious political party lie about the
number of psychiatrists in the country? But even more interesting is the way
the good doctor exposed Akufo-Addo and the NPP’s lies about the National Health
Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Since the NDC came to power, the NHIS has been the
NPP’s target for negative propaganda because obviously the opposition party believes
it can turn Ghanaians against the government through this sector. So, publishing
lies and half-truths to inciting strikes against the managers of the scheme
(the NHIA) has been the stock-in trade of the NPP.
Thus, in spite of the phenomenal positive strides
made in this sector, the NPP has consistently tried to convince Ghanaians that
the scheme is on the verge of collapse. The Moderator of the Presbyterian
Church of Ghana fell victim to the NPP’s lies about the NHIS culminating in his
claim that the NHIS is dying and must be saved from collapsing.
The Most Rt Rev. Prof. Martey obviously fell for
Akudo-Addo’s lie at the IEA Encounter that “The NHIS scheme we proposed and
implemented in 2003 cannot be allowed to fail…it faces collapse with a perilous
lack of care and poor management.” But Dr. Sodzi Sodzi, an expert in the
field of health and its related matters exposed this lie in his article titled“NPP’S
BASELESS RHETORIC?”He writes;“Between 2007 and 2011, outpatient
utilization under the National Health Insurance Scheme improved by about 400%
from its baseline utilization of less than five million. In other words, the
number of visits by NHIS subscribers is increasing. With the establishment of
the NHIS Claims Processing Centre in 2010 – processing claims from all the
Teaching Hospitals, regional hospitals and selected district hospitals— the
facts show that the proportion of claims rejected has reduced from about 19% of
claims submitted to less than 8% in 2012. The amount of claims paid to
providers has risen consistently from less than GH¢100 million in 2007 to over GH
¢500 million in 2011. Payment of cash by patients at the point of service
delivery, popularly known as cash-and-carry, which used to constitute about 80%
of the revenue of healthcare facilities in 2006, has now reduced to about
19%.This suggests a consistent significant reduction in the fortunes of
All the above notwithstanding, the NPP
manifesto, for unspecified reasons totally unsupported by the facts, is
emphatic that the NHIS is collapsing under poor management! How credible and
relevant are proposed policy initiatives that are based on a flawed assessment
of the current situation? There is an unmistakable disconnect between the facts
on the ground and the conclusions drawn by the NPP which must make us question
whether the party is really ready to take us to the next level as far as
achieving universal coverage is concerned.
So what about the charge of mismanagement? At
which point do you conclude that an organisation is being mismanaged?
Here is an organization that started submitting
itself to internal audit processes followed by auditing of all 145 schemes
effective 2009; strengthened its human resource base through its new HR
department; is implementing a medium term strategy supported by rigorous
data-driven monitoring and evaluation wings; commenced clinical audit in 2010
in partnership with providers to abate error and abuse; and is currently
designing a process to electronically link treatment to the various diagnoses;
not forgetting the recently launched 18-hour NHIS call center to assist
How is it that it is rather after the
introduction of these interventions and not before, that the charge of
mismanagement is leveled? This is truly baffling. In fact, in terms
of accountability, the first published annual report of the NHIA was in 2010,
which was the annual report for 2009. On what basis then does the NPP manifesto
reach the conclusion that the scheme is poorly managed? Or perhaps, it is a sad
case of politics as usual?
Clearly, our political parties need to take
urgent steps to move into the era of evidence-based or at least
evidence-influenced policy making so that at any time, Ghanaians can be fairly
certain that real and not phantom challenges are being addressed.
The article (on page 5
of this paper) is a must read as it reveals another lie well packaged for Ghanaians’
consumption by the NPP flag-bearer and his team. Coming on the heels of the
exposure that the figures Akufo-Addo is brandishing to support his Free SHS is
a pack of lies which he and his men are trying to force down the throat of Ghanaians,
the question is whether the government can nib (the lies) in the bud before the
gullible begin to think it is the gospel truth.
For the discerning, it
is clear that Akufo-Addo is a politician that must not be taken seriously. The
lies he is packaging for Ghanaians will have been a non-starter in advanced
democracies like the United States of America.
When a political party
begins to peddle such blatant lies though it is not yet in power, then the electorate
has to sit up.