An amount of GH¢500 million has been paid by the government to settle part of its indebtedness to service providers of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The payment leaves the government with GH¢700 million of its total indebtedness of GH¢1.2 billion to the service providers.
A Deputy Minister of Health, Mr Kingsley Aboagye Gyedu, made this known when President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo paid a visit to the Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital in Takoradi last Wednesday.
The visit was part of a three-day tour by the President to the Western Region.
Mr Gyedu, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai, also announced that $10 million withheld by development partners had been released to further redeem the arrears due National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) service providers.
Additionally, he said, the government had settled its indebtedness of $13 million to UNICEF for the supply of vaccines for the immunisation of children under five years.
That, he said, would pave the way for the restocking of the vaccines.
The officials of the hospital catalogued a number problems and challenges confronting the facility.
Responding to an appeal for the construction of a new regional hospital for the Western Region, the President indicated that the Ministry of Health (MoH) was weighing four different options for the construction of another regional health facility for the Western Region.
"I do not think it will be proper that because we want to build a new regional hospital, we have to abandon this old but famous Effia Nkwanta Hospital. I do not think it will be right," he said.
He, meanwhile, announced that the government had secured funding for the construction of a new regional hospital for the Eastern Region.
Nana Akufo-Addo described the NHIS as one of the greatest legacies of the Kufuor administration but which, unfortunately, had been mismanaged, adding: "It is our duty to restore the NHIS to its full strength and that is what we are going to do."
He urged health workers to rally behind the government as it took steps to restore the economy.
"You are counted and represent a huge important human capital in the development of our country and let me tell you that we will provide you with the best healthcare delivery system," the President told the gathering, amid cheers.
Market Circle crowd
From Effia Nkwanta, the President and his entourage visited the Takoradi Market Circle, where he told the teeming traders and followers of the NPP about his mission to the region, the challenges the government had inherited from the NDC government and the current efforts being made to reverse the economic mess.
Some ministers who took turns to address the crowd outlined the plans and programmes they were variously adopting to improve the lives of Ghanaians.
The MP for Takoradi, Mr Kobby Okyere Darko Mensah, who is also the Deputy Minister of Aviation, appealed to Nana Akufo-Addo to restore the MASLOC facility to the traders, especially the women, to enable them to expand their businesses.