GMA calls on NHIA to suspend payments to MPs, others

BY: Michael Quaye
Dr Samuel Annor, CEO of NHIA has explained the payments are not against the laws as of now
Dr Samuel Annor, CEO of NHIA has explained the payments are not against the laws as of now

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has called on the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to suspend all non-core expenditures on parliamentarians and the Ministry of Health with immediate effect.

It has also charged government to ensure direct transfer of the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) to the NHIL account and not the current detour through the consolidated account.

These were contained in a communiqué read by president of the Association, Dr Frank Ankobea, at the end of the 4th National Executive Council Meeting of the GMA at Jirapa in Upper West Region.

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It also marked the close of the 60th anniversary lecture of the GMA.

“In the light of the current financial challenges facing the NHIA, the GMA – being mindful of the legal requirement of the NHIA to offer financial support to its partners like the MOH and Parliament (parliamentarians) – recommends that those non-core expenditures should be suspended,” Dr Ankobea said.

Related:Dr Annor defends NHIS’ spending on Adwoa Safo, others

The GMA's statement comes in the wake of a defence of the payment by the chief executive of the NHIA, Dr Samuel Annor, during a presentation at the GMA's 60th anniversary public lecture, which was on “Healthcare Financing in Ghana: 60 Years On”.

“[For] us all people who are interested in health, let's hear the call of the people,” Dr Annor said.

“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”.

He criticisms had emanated from leaked documents that showed payments by the NHIA to Member of Parliament, Adwoa Safo, and other supposed government communicators for different reasons.

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The NHIA boss admitted that the recent public criticisms were largely justified because of the financial constraints the NHIS was facing.

“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,” he said.

The GMA also recommended that the NHIL should no longer be transferred to the consolidated account.

“We also recommend that government should take immediate steps to ensure direct transfer of the NHIL to the NHIL account at the Bank of Ghana, and stop the current practice of paying the NHIL to the consolidated account before subsequent transfer to the NHIL account.”