Mr Vitus Kaleo- Bioh, NHIA Business Systems Manager in charge of the Region, stated that the exercise would start in Bolgatanga and added that staff of the National Health Insurance Scheme and mobile stations in the region had been provided with the necessary devices and capacity to carry out the exercise.
Mr Kaleo -Bioh made this known at a press briefing organized by the NHIA in Bolgatanga to sensitize the media on the exercise and inform the public on measures put in place for success in the roll up of implementation.
He stressed that apart from new entrants to the scheme and renewals, all valid old cards would still be used and be accepted by service providers at health facilities until all membership of the scheme get the new cards as they renew their old ones. He however assured that there was no need to rush as every client would be taken care of with time.
He said staff in the Region had been equipped and a total of 464 fixed stations and two mobile centers were earmarked for the exercise and therefore stressed that there was no need for a crowd at the centres.
According to the business System Manager, the bio metric IDs which are instantly produced at point of registration in eight minutes, would reduce the delay in the production of cards and challenges such as difficulty in authenticating the validity of the old IDs and impersonation.
He said the new cards which would have demographic information and bio data of subscribers addressed issues of data integrity, authentication of subscribers by health care providers, ID Cards production delays, difficulties in distribution to subscribers, inability to link subscriber hospital attendance claims forms and multiple registration in membership database.
He said the bio metric cards which would be valid for five years subject to renewals on yearly basis would gradually phase out the old IDs.
Mr Selorm Adonoo, Communications Manager, NHIA, said the implementation of the exercise which started in 2013 had delivered 2.5 million cards by first week of November from five Regions namely; Greater Accra, Central Region, Ashanti, Eastern and Upper West Regions and added that the exercise was expected to cover the entire country by first quarter of 2015.
Mr Adonoo who shared some experience during a pilot phase with the armed forces and police service, said the exercise was efficient but added that overcrowding at centres in earlier implementation posed problems but allayed fears of the public that steps have been taken to ensure that the challenge would not exist.
He allayed fears of subscribers especially the physically challenged, pregnant women and the aged that they would be given priority services at the centres and urged the public to have confidence in the scheme to make it work for the benefit of all.