The Director of the Upper East Regional Manager of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Kassim Abdulai has rubbished the claims made by the coalition of NGOs in Health that active members in the scheme have been dropping consistently.
It would be recalled that speaking on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East Show,
Patrick Namoo, the Upper East Regional Secretary of the Coalition of NGOs in Health has pointed out the frailties of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). There have been sharp declines in the membership of the Scheme, reduced funding and highly irregular and minuscule disbursement of claims to partner health facilities.
These, according to Mr Namoo, are the reasons why the NHIS continues to suffer and fail.
“Active memberships are coming down. In our study, we have realised that most citizens are not interested in the funding for reasons like when you get to the health facility, medications that are critical are not given. They [health staff] always say they are supposed to give [certain drugs] but they are not available. If I come to you and all I can get is paracetamol, then, there is no need to come to you,” he said.
But responding to the claims on the same platform, Mr Abdulai revealed that a total of 73 per cent of the region’s population are active members which he says is a significant increase. These statistics, he said, are from the 2021 Population and Housing Census which pegged the region’s population at a little over 1.2 million people.
He explained that the scheme is working and registered members can access health care services at the various facilities even though there are a few challenges.
“Currently, we are covering about 73 percent of the population. We are accounting for about 73 percent of the entire population. If you look at the census report that was done in July 2021, it pegs our card bearership at 86 percent in the Upper East Region, the highest in the country. Active membership as at the end of 2021 we had coverage of 73 percent of the Upper East Region,” he said.
Mr Abdulai, however, explained that during the first quarter of every year, the number of subscribers of the Scheme often drops because of the lean season but afterwards membership starts picking up again.
“From the beginning of every year to the middle of the second quarter, our membership drops because that is the lean season. The funds are not there for the residents, so we have a few challenges. If you look at it from this May, our membership starts picking up. The peak comes between November and December so we are not dropping,” he said.
Mr Abdulai admitted that due to the high indebtedness of the Scheme to some health facilities in the region, the facilities are unable to serve all the drugs provided under the Scheme. He was however quick to add that the situation is relatively better in other facilities.
The Regional Manager explained that efforts are on course to clear all the debts owed to the facilities so that the smooth operationalization of the Scheme.