Sylvester Mensah, NHIA Boss
The operation of the Central Regional Medical Stores and health service delivery in the Central Region is under serious threat due to non-payment of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) claims.
The Director of the Central Regional Health Service, Dr Samuel Tetteh Kwashie, said NHIA owes the service an average of seven months of outstanding claims per health facility and this is worsening the already dwindling financial resources of the service.
‘If NHIA fails to pay these claims almost immediately, the service will be left with only one option to ensure health service delivery in the region continues uninterrupted and the health of the people secured,’ he said.
Dr Kwashie was addressing the opening of the regional health service 2014 performance review and the maiden distinguished personality-for-health awards in Cape Coast on Tuesday.
The three-day review was on the theme: ‘Strengthening The Sub-district Health Systems For The Attainment of Targeted Health Outcomes’.
Dr Kwashie said only six out of 22 medical officers and two out of four dental surgeons posted to the region last year reported for duty.
He said the service lacked residential and office accommodation for the increasing number of staff posted to the region.
Dr Kwashie said another key challenge of the service was staff wastage. Last year, 29 workers, made up of 16 nurses and three midwives, vacated post and five resigned.
He said in addition, 106 health staff, including 23 midwives, 32 nurses, four physician assistants, four accountants retired and 18 died and this was a challenge and had adverse implication on health service delivery.
Dr Kwashie said the region was third in the country with lowest HIV prevalence since its prevalence which increased from 1.7 in 2010 to 4.7 percent in 2011 had seen a significant drop to 1.9 percent in 2012 and 1.1 percent in 2013.
‘This should not however create a platform for complacency. We must work even harder to get the populace to know their HIV status and to continue to lead responsible sexual lifestyle,’ he said.
On maternal mortality, he said last year, the region recorded 61 cases of maternal deaths with a maternal mortality ratio of 99 per 1000 live births same as recorded in the previous year.
Dr Kwashie, on cholera, mentioned that the region recorded 3,846 cases with 60 deaths reported from 16 out of the 20 districts, the second highest in the country, adding that four new cases with no deaths had been reported from two districts in January.
He expressed worry that 45 years after cholera was first recorded, the country is still struggling with what he described as ’embarrassing personal hygiene and environmental sanitation related disease.’
He commended health workers in the region for their commitment to duty, diverse support from the Ghana Health Service (GHS), development partners and all stakeholders and called for continual support and commitment.
Dr Erasmus Abongo, who represented the GHS as a national observer, acknowledged the difficulties non-payment of NHIS claims coupled with other budgetary constraints created for health facilities.
He said the GHS would soon introduce and implement some measures and programmes to find alternative funding by arranging with some development partners to work directly with some districts.
The Central Regional Minister, Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, in a speech read on his behalf lauded the GHS for its strides in the year under review and pledged the support of the Regional Coordinating Council to ensure quality healthcare delivery.
Two key personalities, Mrs Ama Benyiwa-Doe and Dr Nana Ato Arthur, both former Central regional ministers, who contributed significantly towards healthcare delivery, were awarded during the ceremony.
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