The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, yesterday launched the nationwide registration of beneficiaries of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), Unto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) at Madina in Accra.
The exercise formed part of government’s social protection policy launched by President John Dramani Mahama in June last year.
The policy identifies five flagship areas, namely the livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme (LEAP), the Labour Intensive Public Works (LIPW), the School Feeding Programme, the NHIS exemption and Basic Education Capitation Grants.
About 214,067 members of the LEAP households are expected to be registered at the end of the exercise.
Nana Oye Lithur said the government’s intervention programme would remove financial barriers preventing access to quality health care services.
According to minister, “The intervention would protect poor people from impoverishing the effects of medical expenditures”.
She indicated that the poor and vulnerable often sell their productive assets to fund medical bills while others take their children out of school to be able to afford basic health care services, a situation which rather impoverishes them.
Nana Oye Lithur expressed government’s commitment to deliver on its promise as a social democratic party in order to continue to improve on social protection interventions.
She said 21,000 elderly women and men above 65 years have been registered nationwide, 11,249 inmates of the country’s prisons have been covered while 2,881 victims of the June 3 flood and fire victims in Accra and 625 victims in Ashiaman have also been registered under the NHIS adding that 224,000 school pupils on school feeding have been covered and about 3000 persons with disability were also registered last week.
The minister noted that 82,154 out of 147,881 LEAP beneficiary households representing 65 per cent have been registered unto the NHIS.
The Chief Executive of the NHIS Mr Nathaniel Otoo said efforts were being made to have the aged registered under the NHIS every two years instead of the annual renewal.
He commended the partnership between the Gender Ministry and other stakeholders for the effort in ensuring that the vulnerable get free medical attention.
Mr Otoo indicated that though some success had been made more needed to be done to ensure that health care was brought to the doorsteps of the people.
The La-Nkwantanang-Madina Municipal Chief Executive Mr Franklin Anku said the LEAP programme covers 12 communities in the area adding that “it had transformed the lives of the most vulnerable in the area.
The Member of Parliament for the area, Alhaji Amadou Sorogho urged the beneficiaries to take good care of the cards and also remember to take it along anytime they visit the hospital.
By Lawrence Vomafa-Akpalu