Health Minister promises NHIS overhaul, urges patience

The ministry of health is impressing on Ghanaians to bear with his outfit as steps are taken to overhaul and restructure the troubled National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

The sector minister, Alex Segbefia, says the government is aware of the challenges and agitations of Ghanaians about the scheme and will put smiles back on the faces of Ghanaians.

The minister who was speaking at the 50th Anniversary celebration of the St. Francis Xavier Hospital at Assin Foso in the Central Region assured Ghanaians that measures being taken by government to completely overhaul the National health Insurance Scheme will be successful.

He promised that after the overhaul, the scheme will be able to serve the purpose for which it was instituted.

 “Government intends to intensify the relationship and to create opportunities for missions and the private sector to take more active part in service delivery. We are keenly examining the challenges you face with the National Health Insurance Scheme and as a sector we are feverishly looking at ways of minimizing the effects of these challenges. Collapsing the scheme is not an option”, he assured.

Alex Segbefia who couldn’t hide his delight at the successes chalked by the Mission Hospital in its fifty years of existence paid a glowing tribute to the Catholic Church for being the largest healthcare providers outside the government sector.

“The Catholic church has contributed to the reshaping of some key strategies in the role of non-government owned facilities in health care delivery. I am aware that the mission has been actively pursuing initiatives to ensure that people in rural areas and the poor have access to basic health care”, he said.

The Executive Director of the Christian Health Association of Ghana, Peter Yeboah emphasised the need for government to go beyond the rhetoric by fixing the challenges bedeviling the scheme.

“The delay and late payment of the mandated claims usually 6-8 months in arrears have had an adverse effect on our capacity for effective and efficient service delivery to all Ghanaians. 

"In many ways, both service providers and patients are at the receiving end of the delayed claims and non-payment of claims to service providers.  It is a social protection mechanism. It is an important poverty reduction strategy and that is why we are calling for retooling and restructuring of the National Health Insurance Scheme”, Mr Segbefia said.