The Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Dr Samuel Yaw Annor has described the ailing National Health Scheme (NHIS) as a threat to human security.
Dr Annor called for a multifaceted approach in sustaining the NHIS to avoid patients being dead for not able to access quality health care.
Addressing participants at a regional stakeholders meeting of the NHIA in the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi on Tuesday he said the responsibility must not only be left out on the doorsteps of the government.
The stakeholders’ meeting was aimed at creating a platform for the stakeholders to discuss and find solutions to the financial sustainability of the NHIS.
He therefore underscored the need for the stakeholders to help sustain the NHIS by making meaningful suggestions that will ensure the financial sustainability of the NHIS.
‘If we are going to provide this health care for all of us, then it is all of our collective responsibility. It is not a responsibility to be left for the government. It is the collective responsibility for all of us because it is our number one priority that the dream occurring for everybody has come to stay.
As a nation, we took a big decision in 2003 and 2004 when we decided that 2.5 percent of our tax and 2.5 percent of our SSNIT contribution should be put aside to care for the health of the people. This important decision that we took, got accolades all over the world, everybody clapped for us that we have taken a very bold and a correct decision. Unfortunately, this decision that we took, it has been probably about over twelve, thirteen, fourteen years now, we have not revised this financial model,’ he said.
He outlined four critical pillars that they have identified to be stifling the growth of the NHIS, key among them is the NHIS tax levy which is woefully inadequate.
According to him, a country needs 86 dollars per year to care for its citizens on diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, cough, worm infestation, pregnant women, high blood pressure and sugar diseases.
‘Currently due to the reduction in the value of the cedi is working out probably around about 25dollars, so for one person you have about 25 dollars to look after you for the whole year. Again because healthcare is an international, world health organization and some international bodies have measured, that what is the minimum requirement internationally to provide the basic health care so that if someone has malaria, diarrhea, cough, worm infestation, pregnant and about to deliver, pressure, sugar disease and other diseases. The world has measured that if you want to provide these basic health care you’d need a minimum of about 86 dollars for everyone per year,’ he stated.
Dr Annor called on the rich folks, churches, institutions and individuals in society to financially support the NHIS.
‘The controversial issue that we have is that some people work and others don’t work, some people earn more some earn little. Some people earn as low as maybe even government employees, earn as low as maybe 400 cedis, some also earn as high as maybe ten thousand, twenty thousand some even forty fifty cedis every month. So what are we saying, let us look at those who have a bit more and then let’s ask them, every month just maybe one percent not more just one percent of what you earn let us put it into the health box,’ he advised.