Robert Ofosu-Apea, a chartered accountant, and friends have organised a free National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) registration exercise for residents of Anumle electoral area in Accra, as part of efforts to build a healthy and prosperous community.
In all, about 750 people including the needy, vulnerable and aged who are financially challenged went through the registration exercise covering both new registrants and renewal of expired cards.
Speaking on why many Ghanaians are reluctant to enrol on the scheme, Mr. Ofosu-Apea said: “I do not think it is because they do not pay attention to their health. I believe people have genuine reasons in terms of finance as to why they are not eager to enrol on the scheme.
“That is why when it is done for free a lot of people come out in their numbers, which confirms that people have challenges with money; and this is an issue we need to address as a nation,” he added.
Mr. Ofosu-Apea further assured residents that the exercise will not be a one-day event but rather a yearly one to sensitise citizens on the NHIS’s importance.
He attributed the programme’s success to Jemima Fayah, Kwame Okyere Mensuo, Stephen Yamoah and Queens Salad – friends who supported him in executing the initiative.
Florence Welbeck, Administrative Assistant of the Okai Kwei district of NHIS, said seeing the number of people at the event-ground implies that financial constraint remains the main reason people do not enrol on the NHIS.
“Since we are merging the NHIS card and the Ghana card, I advise everyone to come along with a Ghana card or voter’s card to help us get accurate data on individuals,” she said.
Ms. Welbeck also added that children under 5years and those over 70 years can use their card immediately it is issued, while those over 5 to 69 years must wait a month before it can be used.
Educating Ghanaians on how to merge their NHIS card with the Ghana card, she said one should dial *929# and select option 4, which will take them through the process of linking the cards.
Emphasising the NHIS’s importance, Wendy Nana-Danquah – a hairstylist and a beneficiary, indicated that it has been very helpful: “I have been on the scheme for almost 7 years, and it has made my visits to hospital very frequent and easy since most of the expenses are taken care of”.