Dr Annor defends NHIS’ spending on Adwoa Safo, others

BY: Michael Quaye

Chief Executive of the National Health Insurance Authoriry, Dr Samuel Annor says public criticisms of some of its recent financial disbursements only reflect the public’s interest in the survival and sustainability of the Scheme.

Dr Samuel Annor said the intent behind the leakage of official documents of the Scheme into the public space was an apparent warning to its managers not to mess with the finances of the Scheme.

Addressing various stakeholders in Ghana’s healthcare delivery system at the 60th anniversary public lecture of the Ghana Medical Association at Jirapa in Upper West Region on Friday, Dr Annor appeared to respond to public condemnation over huge expenses to train government communicators on the NHIS, and another made to parliamentarian Adwoa Safo.

“So the public started focusing on the Authority and on the Scheme. Recently, you might have read in the papers or heard in the news about all sorts of documents which are leaking from our offices,” Dr Annor said.

“And there are all sorts of political insinuations (about) who are leaking these documents. Find them and smoke them out.

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“But having travelled the length and breadth of this country, I have come to the conclusion that all the interest in NHIS is not because documents are leaking or people are doing that, but because the people are telling us (in charge of) the Scheme, they are telling government, they are telling everybody that the NHIS is so important to them and (so) do not want to see it collapse.

“So anything that they believe is not dealing with the core mandate of the NHIS, they don’t want to see us spend a penny on it. That is the message we are getting.”

Dr Annor appeared to justify those payments, however, as he referenced the law.

“On a number of platforms, I have been asked as the CEO: why do you disburse money to your partners? Why do you disburse money to MOH when MOH has its own budget? We hear you disburse money to parliamentarians, why do you disburse money to parliamentarians when they should have their own budget?

“This has become so nationwide; there is no corner in this country I have gone to in a public forum where these questions have not come up.

“(For) Us all people who are interested in health, let’s hear the call of the people.

“If we have to revise the current arrangement; and I tell them these payments, these transfers are not against the laws as of now because within our budget… our budget for these partners are incumbent upon request, and we disburse them according to requests from these partners,” Dr Annor said.

Dr Annor added: “So if there is a general request from this country that these things should be dissociated, let us hear the voices, let us rebrand, restyle the whole funding scheme of the Scheme and then move forward”.

Dr Annor said the criticisms by the public appeared justified on the basis of the Scheme’s recent failings and the financial constraints that have threatened its continued operation and relevance in delivering an effective insurance package to society.

“Because right now, we are at a junction, moving from a point where the Scheme was working well to a point where it is not working well and everybody is complaining.”

Dr Annor, however, admitted that a new path for the Scheme had become necessary.

“We are going to chart a new path forward. Let’s look at the path we are charting forward.”

The lecture, which was attended by various stakeholders in Ghana’s healthcare delivery system, including various health professionals and service providers under the health insurance policy, was on “The Role of GMA in Healthcare: 60 Years On”.