Deputy Chief Executive Officer in Charge of Operation at the National Health Insurance Authority, Mr. Nathaniel Otoo has promised there will be a sustenance of a more healthier Ghanaian citizens in decades to come thanks to the introduction of the Biometric Membership Solution (BMS) through the National Health Insurance Scheme. He reveals that the new biometric form of subscription has enabled the NHIA to register more new clients and currently renewing memberships of thousands more by the day. He said this in an exclusive interview with Moderngahan.com after a press conference in Accra.
Mr. Otoo reveals that before the introduction of the biometric registration system, the NHIA could boast of 9.8 million subscription in 2013 with over 27 million hospital attendance annually. He argued that the introduction of the biometric ID card acquisition system will eventually cement the grand vision of the NHIA in offering affordable healthcare system in the country.
Outlining the core basis for the exercise, Mr. Otoo enumerated that the profits are countless as it minimises the opportunities for abuse and fraud and promotes cost-containment. So far three regions have had their share of the instant biometric ID issuance being Greater Accra, Central, and Eastern regions respectively while preparations are underway to give the Ashanti Region a taste of their own share.
According to Mr. Otoo there are litany of benefits that come along with the Biometric Membership Solution (BMS) to all Ghanaians for many decades to come. Besides the core purpose of resolving ID card management challenges. He said it particularly addresses authentication of subscribers by healthcare providers, ID production delays, difficulty in ID card distribution to subscribers, inability to link subscriber’s hospital attendance to claims forms and multiple registrations in the membership database.
Unlike the Electoral Commission which is assiduously working to avert a recurrence of challenging factors that were assumed to have marred the beauty of the 2010 general election, the NHIA is confident it has full control over all possible technical challenges that may arise during the registration exercises. He indicated that his outfit is closely working in hand with the National Identification Authority in synchronizing all Biometric ID cards by the NHIS in order to prevent multiple registration.
Mr. Otto also established that the common challenge facing the smooth run of the exercise is the lack of offices for the agents and technical groups of the NHIA to undertake their work in comfort. He says some workers are currently working form allocations of district and community centers to the inconvenience of subscribers who stand in long queues. Despite these challenges however he says more people continues to show strong interest thereby reposing confidence in the scheme to financing healthcare. As a result he adds that more equipment have been supplied to some offices where numbers of subscribers are higher, compelling workers to extend working time from 6am to 9pm.
Meanwhile, contrary to a press release by the Progressive Peoples Party’s Youth Wing last year June which expressed the party’s disappointment in the management of the NHIS biometric registration subscription, the successes seem to defend it cause now. The bases of the call by the PPP Youth Wing was that the State had already invested millions of dollars to have all Ghanaians of six years old and above biometrically registered under the National Identification System and that the current undertaking is a cause of financial loss to the state.ss
However, relative to some public misconception to the introduction of the Biometric Membership Solution (BMS), Mr. Otoo has called on all offices of the NHIA at both district and community levels to embark on public education exercises to disabuse public thoughts and knowledge that are misleading in regards to the on-going exercise.
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