Government has promised to clear a whopping debt of Ȼ1.2 billion owed to health providers under the National Health Insurance Scheme.
Health Minister Kweku Agyemang Manu said the 12 month arrears will be cleared late this week or early next week.
He gave the promise Wednesday during discussion with health providers in the Ashanti Region.
The promise to pay the arrears, comes at a time the health sector is on the verge of collapse with the health providers threatening to revert to the dreaded cash and carry system.
Last week, the Executive Director of the Christian Health Association of Ghana Peter Yeboah painted a grim picture of the situation at the health sector.
He told Joy News Editor, Dzifa Bampoh the scale and scope of debt owed his Association was “frightening” and will no doubt affect the 24-hour service delivery of his outfit.
His outfit alone was owed an amount of 200million cedis debt in a 12-month arrears, a situation he said left the Christian health Association virtually on its knees.
“There is an acute shortage of medicine and consumables.. We are unable to pay for our utilities and no longer credit worthy,” to purchase drugs from Pharmaceutical companies, Peter Yeboah indicated.
He described the situation as “grim,” with dire implications for women, children and vulnerable groups especially in the rural areas.
But the Health Minister in announcing government’s preparedness to pay the arrears owed the health providers also stated there will be “an injection of good amount of money” to keep the authority vibrant.
“Government is clearly aware of the challenges confronting the health sector,” he stated, adding there will be monthly releases from the Finance Ministry to keep the policy vibrant.
The status of NHIA took centre stage in the 2016 campaign with the then candidate Akufo-Addo accusing the Mahama led government of running down the policy introduced by ex-President John Kufuor in 2003.
But the erstwhile government insisted the policy was vibrant except to concede there was arrears owed to the health providers. It turned out that the arrears was close to 12 months.
While the new Minister’s promise to pay should be welcome news to the health providers the Christian Health Association of Ghana is cautiously optimistic.
Head of the Association, Peter Yeboah told Joy News’ Evans Mensah until the arrears is paid and hits their account he will remain cautiously optimistic.
According to him, for months they have been fed with empty promises and hoped that this will be honoured.
He cautioned however that a piecemeal payment of the arrears will be disastrous, adding, given the extent of the debt owed them a substantial amount is needed to bring them back in business.