Save sinking National Health Insurance Scheme – GMA

BY: Michael Quaye
Dr Frank Ankobea, President of the GMA speaking of the National Health Insurance Scheme
Dr Frank Ankobea, President of the GMA speaking of the National Health Insurance Scheme

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) says an urgent intervention has become necessary “to find a way to salvage” the National Health Insurance Scheme.

President of the GMA, Dr Frank Ankobea said of the National Health Insurance Scheme that it is “absolutely necessary to find a way to salvage this sinking ship of our healthcare finances”.

Dr Ankobea said this as he addressed members and other stakeholders in Ghana’s health system at the 60th anniversary public lecture at Jirapa in Upper West Region on Friday.

The lecture on “The Role of GMA in Healthcare: 60 Years On”, provided a platform for stakeholders to contribute to the current discussion on the financing of the insurance scheme.

Indeed, the NHIS is said to be extremely challenged in terms of financial sustainability, with government’s indebtedness to service providers regularly in arrears of more than 12 months.

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In the last few weeks, the chief executive of NHIS, Dr Samuel Annor has stressed the dire straits of the scheme, indicating that innovative means were needed to sustain its effective operation.

But while acknowledging efforts of government to address challenges facing the scheme, Dr Frank Ankobea said it was important “to address the leakages in the system”.

“It is of no use for us to continue fetching water into an already leaking basket,” he said.

“It is in this light that I call on all stakeholders to ensure that we find innovative ways and adopt pragmatic measures to deal with the issue of healthcare financing in the country.

“Let us deal with the issues of healthcare financing so that we can procure the drugs and the necessary logistics, so that we can expand our infrastructure, so that we can deal with our emergency healthcare and for once banish the ghost of ‘no bed syndrome’ from our health facilities,” he said.