President John Mahama replies NHIS critics

President John Dramani Mahama Tuesday night observed that he does not understand people who claim that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has collapsed.

He said he does not get it because rather than it collapsing, it is providing more healthcare for bearers than it has ever done.

According to the president, utilization (number of visits made by patients holding NHIS cards) in 2008 was 9.3 million as against 29.6 million recorded in 2014.

And so when people say that the national health insurance scheme has collapsed, he does not get it.

“We are treating far more people today than ever have been treated in history”.

According to President Mahama, if there was any particular area that had enjoyed enormous investments, it should be in health infrastructure.

“The number of hospitals that we have built or are building, or are in various stages of construction, are phenomenal. From regional hospitals to district hospitals, to polyclinics, to specialized hospitals, there are so many of them,” he said, all in an effort to improve the quality of healthcare.

He said having operated the National Health Insurance Scheme for a while now, it would not make sense if one had the NHIS card but has no facility to visit for care. In such an instance, he said the cost of travelling long distances to access healthcare could be avoided if the facilities were close enough, adding also that by adding more infrastructure, healthcare has been brought to the doorstep of the people.

The president said work was ongoing on two teaching hospitals, four regional hospitals and 14 district hospitals and over 30 health centres.

He also said five additional polyclinics have been completed while 15 other polyclinics for the Eastern and Central regions have just been approved by Parliament.

President Mahama said 1,260 CHIPS Compound have been built across the country. The number of health training institutions have also been increased from 25 in 2005 to 95 in 2015 in order to train more qualified health personnel. Student intake into these training institutions also moved up from 12,000 to 23,000 over the same period.

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