17 January 2013

Ghana: Ashanti Union Queries President Mahama

Kumasi — The Asante Development Union (ADU) has filed thousands of questions to President John Dramani Mahama over the National Health Insurance Capitation, which is currently being operated in the Ashanti Region on a pilot basis.

ADU, in a statement issued in Kumasi and signed by its Coordinator, Mr. Edmond Oppong Peprah, said the President and, for that matter, the National Health Insurance, have been quiet on the national rollout of the Capitation Programme.

According to the Union, despite President Mahama's policy statement delivered on September 4 last year, instructing the Minister of Health to coordinate with the various departments and agencies within the health sector, in respect of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), nothing had been heard of it.

As a result, the ADU wants to know the President's position on the NHIA Capitation policy.

It stated that among some of the directives issued by the President was the monthly presentation of the list of additional sources of funding for the NHIS, expedited preparations towards the nationwide rollout of the capitation programme for the Scheme, and the engagement of stakeholders for an open consideration of options for the long term sustainability of the Scheme, including discussions of the one-time premium.

The ADU claimed that following the President's policy statement, a stakeholders' conference was held in Accra, from December 20 to 21 last year, where the participants reached several conclusions.

Notably among some of the agreements reached, according to the ADU, were the increment of the Value Added Tax component of the funding of the NHIS from 2.5 to 3.5%, and the inability to implement the one-time NHIS premium.

The statement said: "It comes out clear that for the national rollout of the capitation programmes of the NHIA currently being practiced in Ashanti, nothing much has been heard of it."

The ADU reminded the President and NHIA authorities of the official pronouncement during the introduction of the capitation in the Ashanti Region that the piloting would last one year, after which it would be rolled out throughout the country, but the year had ended, yet nothing had been heard of it.

The Union has, therefore, reminded the President that his policy statement last year, which instructed the sector Minister to hasten preparations towards nationwide rollout of the Capitation Programme of the NHIS, was over, and he needs to do something about it.

The ADU said what pertained in the region was "cash and carry", a situation resulting in clients being underserved and underprovided, where private hospitals were still not accepting capitation, with patients disoriented and continuing to suffer.

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