From Richard Owusu-Akyaw, Kumasi
The introduction of the Capitation Grant by National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) in the Ashanti Region has worsened health care delivery in regional capital, Kumasi, the Metropolitan Health Director, Dr. Kwasi Awudzi-Yeboah, has bemoaned.
He said health financing in the metropolis is primarily based on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), but unfortunately, the status of the NHIS in Kumasi is not good, owing to the Capitation Grant and mountainous debt of claims owed the government and private hospitals in Kumasi by the NHIA.
Although Dr. Kwasi Yeboah-Awudzi did not indicate the cost of capitation per patient, he hinted that as of May 2015, no claims have been paid to them by NHIA. A situation, he said, is compromising health delivery in the metropolis.
Referring to information from the Kumasi Health Directorate, he said the NHIS owes government hospitals in the metropolis to the tune of GH¢726,067.97. According to him, capitation gives hospitals a lesser amount of money per client, which is at the detriment of hospitals in Ashanti Region, notably Kumasi.
Dr. Yeboah-Awudzi, who was speaking at the 2015 Annual Performance Review meeting of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, noted that the advantage of the capitation is that National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) gives them (hospitals) funds at the beginning of every month, but the said funds are rather paid at the end of the month. A situation, he said, is impeding health care delivery in Kumasi. “As of now, the monthly capitation fund has not been paid,” he disclosed.
The Kumasi Metropolitan Health Director was of the view that if, indeed, the NHIS is cash-strapped, as indicated by the immediate-past Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sylvester Mensah, recently, then Ghana, as a nation, has to face facts and mitigate the NHIS funding problem.
He suggested an increment in NHIS taxes to address the funding problem. Dr. Yeboah-Awudzi outlined their challenges as inadequate infrastructures, pointing to growing over-crowding at the wards, a situation, he said, is not the best. “Poor funding and high mortality rate is hampering our work.”
Touching on disease surveillance in Kumasi, he revealed that in 2015, Kumasi recorded 20 cholera cases, but no casualty. The Ashanti Regional Health Director, Dr. Alexis Nang-Beifubah, stated that the health arena has been different for the past few years, adding that “the inflows are not forthcoming.”
He said proper health care is capital intensive, and therefore, required capital to be injected into the system to avoid negative results. Dr. Nang-Beifubah called for collaboration to maximise health resources to give health care a facelift.