Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has announced GH¢300 million additional funds for the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to enable it to pay accumulated claims.
Dr Bawumia, answering questions from audiences at the Joy FM’s Town Hall meeting on Monday where he outlined the achievements of New Patriotic Party’s government within 100 days, stated that the Finance Ministry has allocated the amount to the NHIA in its budget to enable it to offset the debts it owed service providers.
He pointed out that at the time the NPP took over the NHIA, it was owing service providers about 10 months arrears from March 2016.
“This makes it our 104 achievement,” he added.
The NHIA owes health service providers under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) claims for the past 10 months due to untimely release of funds to the NHIA.
The delay in the release of the funds has led to some facilities reverting to cash-and-carry system, with the vice president indicating that but for the change in government, the health scheme would have collapsed for lack of funding.
Dr Bawumia also mentioned that approval has been given to employ 11,000 health trainees who graduated between 2012 and 2016.
“In the area of health, we had a lot of nurse trainees who had been sitting at home but within these last 100 days, approval has been given to employ 11,000 health trainees who graduated between 2012 and 2016,” he stated.
He further disclosed that the Akufo-Addo-led government had reduced the cost of application forms for nursing training institutions from GH¢160 to GH¢100.
Dr Bawumia further reiterated that government had restored the nursing training allowance which will take effect from September, and has in addition secured financial clearance to employ 181 doctors who completed their residency seven months ago.
The vice president, however, explained that “we have dissolved the Health Training Institutions Secretariat. It was practically a 419 institute which was engaged in collecting moneys from prospective applicants, but we have dissolved it.”
Answering a question on how to save the national ambulance from collapsing, the vice president also urged constituencies to use part of the one million dollars allocated to constituencies under the ‘one million dollars, one constituency policy’ to buy ambulances.
He said the reason for the ‘one constituency, one million dollars policy’ is to ensure that the various constituencies across the country would be able to resolve pertinent issues affecting them without waiting for the central government to intervene.
“If you wait for the central government, the money will never come,” he suggested, pointing out that the constituencies can each take from the one million dollars, an amount of money to buy a new ambulance for use by the constituency.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri