Report on NHIS review submitted to minister

Mr Alex Segbefia,Health MinisterThe National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Review Committee on Friday submitted its report to the Minister of Health, Alex Segbefia, for consideration and implementation.

The committee was inaugurated by the minister a year ago, to identify challenges confronting the operation of the scheme, and how best it could be made to work effectively.

Presenting it Dr. Chris Atim, chairman of the committee, said they consulted key stakeholders in the health sector, including agencies and bodies, to appreciate the shortcomings in the 13 years existence of the NHIS.

He said the NHIS should  must be redesigned and restructured around the provision of primary healthcare, which would take care of the health needs of majority of the people, as well as reduce its overall cost to the state.

“The current challenges of the NHIS are fuelled by consequences of underperforming primary healthcare system,” he said, and urged for the introduction of provision in the scheme that would focus on tackling prevention and efficiency improvement.

According to the chairman, the committee also recommended the establishment of a National Health Commission which would regulate and co-ordinate the activities of healthcare agencies, as well as set the priorities to be pursued to properly activate less-functioning areas of the sector.

He said this was necessary to check the activities of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) and address regulation inconsistencies under which the authority exist.

Dr. Atim noted that the NHIA must not be allowed to work both as a purchaser and a regulator, to ensure policies were not only convenient for their work, but take into account broader societal interests.

The committee, he noted, also recommended the establishment of the Patients Protection Council to ensure patients are given the best of healthcare services and medical errors reduced.

“The agency would be responsible for setting healthcare standards and hold practitioners accountable for their work,” he stressed.

Receiving the report, Mr. Segbefia reiterated government’s commitment to revamping the NHIS to address the challenges and deliver quality healthcare to the people.

He noted that this commitment resulted in the setting-up of a committee to move the scheme forward.

The minister was confident the government would fast-track and implement recommendations in the report, to address the challenges facing the NHIS

Mr. Segbefia appealed to members of the Government and Hospital Pharmacists Association to return to work as they sought redress of their concerns.

By Claude Nyarko Adams  

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