General News of Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Source: Daily Democrat

Akufo-Addo's Lies About NHIS Revealed

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,
September 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 2012 HEALTH MANIFESTO:
TRANSFORMATIONAL OR 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 cash-and-carry.
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
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.