NHIS must benefit the poor—SEND Ghana

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An international non-governmental organisation, SEND-Ghana has revealed in its latest report that the National Health Insurance Scheme benefits the rich rather than the poor.

The survey which was done between 2012 and 2013 says a lot of people who have been registered under the scheme are not considered as poor by the definition of the Ghana Statistical Service.

The report was titled “Is the National Health Insurance Scheme Pro-Poor?”
Programmes Officer at the NGO, Adamu Mukaila is calling for a change in the trend to prevent unnecessary deaths.

“Our research shows that in the Upper Wes region, 45 percent of the population is poor and this means that even feeding is a problem but 14 percent has been registered on the NHIS scheme. This means that 31 percent of those who cannot feed themselves have not been registered,” he said.

He said the premium payment which was paid according to ones economic status has changed and the poor is being robbed for the rich.

“We are now made to pay the same premium no matter your economic conditions and we are subsidizing for the rich, those who can pay more are forced to pay less because there is a flat rate for all of them to pay.”

This in his view has contributed to the increasing number of deaths in rural areas.
Mr. Mukiala also said a lot of pregnant women especially in the greater Accra Region are exploited financially.

Although services for pregnant women are thought to be free, this does not happen. Our research found that that there are a number of illegal payments pregnant women are made to pay, he said.

“There are a number of illegal charges, sometimes they are charged between 3 and 4 cedis for certain items they should not pay for. This is not good for people who cannot afford”, he said.

The NHIS was instituted by President John Agyekum Kufuor–led administration.
The Scheme was to get rid of the popular “cash and carry’ system – where patients are catered for only after they have settled their bills.

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