NHIS Will Work Again – Health Minister

Kwaku Agyemang-Manu – Health Minister-designate

The Health Minister-designate, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, who was vetted on Tuesday by the Appointments Committee of Parliament, told members that as a former executive director of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), he will bring his experience to bear in making the scheme more responsive to the health needs of Ghanaians.

He said patients with NHIS cards are sometimes detained because they cannot pay for medication and healthcare, “the reason why the president assigned me to the Health Ministry to see how to find sustainable funding for the NHIS,” he said.

He also flawed the measurement of the NHIS success by its membership as Hon.   Sampson Ahi stated, indicating that more substantive parameters beyond membership figures should be used to assess the effectiveness of the NHIS.

“The NHIA was not established to register members; so we don’t assess the activeness of the NHIA with membership number. We established NHIS with the objective to provide affordable, accessible healthcare to the people,” he stressed.

He said he would also make sure that the numerous strikes by health workers are minimised to ensure smooth health delivery in the country.

Mr Agyemang-Manu also indicated that he would use his background as a finance person to help the sustainable financing in the health sector.

He said he would ensure financial accountability in the health sector, especially in the area of procurements at the Central Medical Store, and also pay close attention to whatever goes on at the Central Medical Store of the ministry.

On his views about health professionals taking up administrative functions in the health sector to the detriment of smooth health delivery in the country, the minister-designate told the committee that he does not subscribe to that, and so he would make sure that all those health professionals return to health facilities to work.

When asked whether the government will continue with all uncompleted health projects, the minister-designate said the president would ensure that all health projects started during the previous regime would be completed by this government, and that all the necessary funds would be secured to complete those projects.

The health minister-designate was asked whether the present government was prepared to employ all new nurses who are at home and have been employed, the minister-designate told the committee that the government will do all it can to employ all nurses who are sitting at home.

He, however, stated that the first budget by the government for this ministry will determine how many nurses the government can employ for this year.

 By Thomas Fosu Jnr