The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) in the Volta Region has given the assurance that no prisoner will be excluded from the National Health Insurance Scheme.
“This is because their health is just as important as the health of the rest of the citizenry,” said Mr Joseph Homenya, Regional Director of NHIA.
Apart from that, he said that the congestion at the prisons was great cause for concern for the health of the convicts.
Already, 102 prisoners out of the total of 430 received new health insurance cards while 61 had their missing cards replaced in an exercise carried out by the NHIA at the Ho Central Prison more than a fortnight ago.
Sixty-nine of the inmates at the correctional centre earlier had their expired cards renewed during the exercise.
According to Mr Homenya, the exercise to register convicts onto the scheme would now be extended to the Kpando and Kete-Krachi prisons, which had 210 and 356 inmates respectively.
He said that officials of NHIA in those areas had been assigned to carry out the exercise to cover all the 1,004 prisoners in the region in a matter of weeks.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Director of Prisons (DDP) in-charge of the Volta Region, Mr Andrews Dzokoto, has lauded the exercise by the NHIA as most appropriate and timely.
He said that hitherto, the prison authorities bore the medical costs on behalf of the prisoners who did not have health insurance cards.
“Once they all get registered onto the scheme, will save money for administrative work and other operational duties,” he added.
Still on the health of convicts, DDP Dzokoto said that the Ho Central Prison was set to expand its three-bed infirmary to take in 20 beds, while similar plans would be carried out at the Kpando and Kete-Krachi prisons in due course.
He insisted that it was safer to treat ailing prisoners at the correctional centre than taking them to the hospital.
“And in an era of COVID-19, we find it safer keeping the prisoners inside the prison,” he maintained.
FROM ALBERTO MARIO NORETTI, HO