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Calls for NHIA boss dismissal misplaced – Akomea asserts
From: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Isaac Essel          Published On: March 16, 2013, 18:30 GMT
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Calls for NHIA boss dismissal misplaced – Akomea asserts

Nana Akomea

Communications Director of the opposition NPP, Nana Akomea has indicated that calls for the removal of Chief Executive of National Health Insurance Authority are misplaced; insisting that the CEO cannot be blamed for what is bedeviling the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

The health insurance scheme has been in crisis in recent times, but the straw that almost broke the back of the scheme was when the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) – missions health facilities - suspended medical services to scheme cardholders on Monday over GH˘ 50 million owed them.

The suspension was however called off on Friday after the service providers were paid the outstanding debts.

In the midst of the brouhaha, many had the cause to call for the dismissal of the CEO of the NHIA, Sylvester Mensah, for what they claimed was his poor management of the scheme.

But speaking on Joy FM’s flagship programme Newsfile, Nana Akomea maintained that it was wrong for anybody to fault the authority for any wrong doing.

However, he placed the blame squarely on the doorstep of the government, accusing it of hoarding funds from the Authority, and misapplying the money due them.

The National Health Insurance Levy mandates government to take two and half per cent of VAT and pay same to the authority within 30days. He therefore wondered why government would wait for issues to get out of hand before going to the aid of the scheme, which is said to be the biggest social intervention since Ghana’s independence.

“The problem is due to government’s failure, that is the simplest explanation…it is not the fault of the National Health Insurance Authority. The problem is that the money that should be transferred to the authority to pay the hospitals is not being transferred, that is the problem because the government is using the money for something else,” he claimed.

Nevertheless, Nana Akomea, who was the former Member of Parliament for Okaikoi South, believed the chief executive and the management of the Authority gave reasons to the public to flay them.

“The problem with Ametor-Quarmyne (Communications Consultant to the Authority) and his boss (Sylvester Mensah) is that they are the ones who defend when actually they are the victims. You are not getting your money, when there is a complaint you are rather defending, you also should be complaining.”

Malik Kweku Baako, Managing Editor of the New Crusading Guide concurred with Nana Akomea that the central government should be blamed for the situation.

“I find it intriguing that we are not sitting here talking about excess expenditure relative to the national health insurance, a critical area of social life, of human life, brought down by bureaucratic inertia, managerial inefficiency, it ought not to happen.”

However, he argued against claims that the scheme is collapsing.

Eric Ametor-Quarmyne, Communications Consultant of the NHIA, underscored that persons calling for the head of the CEO are not abreast with the fact.

He was convinced if his boss was culpable he would have been sacked by his employers even before their calls were made.

He however apologised to subscribers who were affected by the withdrawal of services and hoped it would never happen again.

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