The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has rubbished as untrue allegations by the Minority in Parliament that the Authority is diverting funds meant for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to pay allowances of trainee nurses.
Government last year restored the monthly allowance for trainee nurses which was cancelled by the Mahama administration in 2014. The cancellation of the allowance became a key element of the Akufo-Addo campaign, igniting interest among nurses and parents.
The accusations of the Minority comes at a time when the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) is on head on collision with the NHIA for wanting to increase the levy on the salaries of formal sector workers to fund the NHIS. The NHIA plans to hike the Health Insurance levy by 1% moving it from 2.5% to 3.5%—meaning workers will pay 3.5% of their 17.5% contribution from the tier one pension fund to run the NHIS.
“I’m not against student nurses taking allowances. I’m not against that. What I’m against is the use of NHIA funds,” bemoaned the NDC MP for Daffiama Dr Sebastiann Sandaare in an interview with Starr News’ Parliamentary Correspondent Ibrahim Alhassan.
“If you shift or move funds from the core objectives of paying for service providers [but] rather go and build a school, for me it is a misplaced priority which I won’t encourage because all these things add to the fact that the scheme is struggling…” he added.
But speaking Wednesday on Starr Today, the Deputy Marketing Director of the NHIA, Oswald Essuah Mensah denied unequivocally the Minority’s assertions.
What the Authority does, he said, is to coordinate the payment of the allowances of the trainee nurses.
“We have been involved in a process where we are leveraging our ICT (Information Communication Technology) infrastructure to register nurses and to pay their allowances,” he said, adding: “The NHIA doesn’t use its funds to pay the nurses [and] as far as I know the funds are coming from the government.”