Upper West exceeds NHIA membership target

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The Upper West Regional Office of the National Health Insurance Authority exceeded its membership registration target by more than 100 per cent in 2015.

The registration of the indigent and vulnerable also increased from 49,871 in 2014 to 115,075 in 2015, representing 131 per cent growth, Mr. Abass Suleymana, the Acting Regional Director of the NHIA, said at the Fifth Annual Performance Review Meeting, in Wa.

He said during the year under review, most of the district offices of the NHIA in the Region also exceeded their performance targets with the Jirapa District emerging as the best performing district, out of the eight.

Mr. Suleymana said the NHIA was determined to increase the NHIS membership coverage to at least 60 per cent of the Region’s population in 2016.

He said plans were far advanced to introduce a programme on a pilot basis in two selected districts – rural and urban each.

The programme dubbed, “Close to Client Initiative” would take the NHIS to the doorsteps of its clients and the public.

“This initiative seeks to bridge the knowledge gap and to sustain clients’ confidence about the scheme in the Region,” Mr. Suleymana explained.

Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, the Upper West Regional Minister, urged the NHIA to do a lot more to attain universal coverage in the Region.

He said the funding gap of the Scheme hindered its attempts to increase coverage.

In that regard, he said, the Government, through Parliament, passed a new NHIS Act (ACT852) in 2012 to broaden the sources of funding for the Scheme and make it sustainable.

He said the Government had also commissioned a team of experts to propose for its consideration reforms that would make the NHIS financially viable and guarantee its sustainability in the future as well as the expansion of its coverage.

Alhaji Sulemana warned the staff of the Authority and service providers who connived to cheat the Scheme with fraudulent claims to refrain from the practice.

He appealed to service providers to be very diligent in the claims they submitted for payments, while staff of the NHIA should also be vigilant and properly scrutinise claims before processing them for payment to help save resources to make the scheme sustainable.

The Regional Minister urged the staff and management of the NHIA to be sensitive to the needs of their clients and to put in measures to deal with the occasional long queues that clients endured to register.

“This is, particularly, important because the ordeal clients go through during registration and renewal is a disincentive to achieving universal coverage under the Scheme,” he said.

Alhaji Sulemana said the Government was investing in the development of the necessary infrastructure needed to provide quality health care service to the people.

It had, therefore, taken adequate measures to equip hospitals and health facilities with modern health equipment and gadgets to help diagnose complex diseases and illnesses to improve the health status of the people.

“The health of our people is central to our development and it is one of the priorities of every nation,” he said.

“Better health care is central to human happiness and productivity,” Alhaji Sulemana stated.

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