The partnership of the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protected with some government organizations to support needy children, the elderly and women has begun yielding fruits throughout the country.
The Minister of Gender Children and Social Protection Nana Oye Lithur dropped this hint when her ministry and staff of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) joined hands to organize the registration of aged men and women of over 65years old at Nima and Town Council Line in Accra.
The program also includes Adenta, where together more than 1,800 aged are being targeted. Currently most of the beneficiaries of the free health insurance registration are provided with medical care free of charge at all government hospitals and clinics across the country. As the ministry moves along with the exercise the minister and her staff provided the beneficiaries with food packages consisting soft drinks and cooked rice for refreshment as they waited to be served. The scheme is a pro-poor system meant to enlist the aged the disabled prisoners and children in Borstal Institutes and beneficiaries of the school feeding program on the Health Insurance Scheme for them to benefit from free medical care. According to the minister the program is a nationwide scheme to cover all the needy.
This has led to the ministry moving to Koforidua in the Eastern Region, Sege in the Greater Accra Region, Elembele in the Western Region, Tamale in the Northern Region and many towns for the program adding that 1.7 children on the school feeding program will be registered on the NHIS scheme while prisoners are also being enlisted on the scheme.
The Member of Parliament for East Ayawaso Constituency who spoke through the NDC chairman Olabode Williams of East Ayawaso commended the Ministry of Gender under Nana Oye Lithur for doing so well in supporting the needy people throughout the country.
He said “the minister is one of the hardest working ministers of the current government who deserves praise from the authorities and all well meaning people”. The MP thanked the minister for turning her attention to Nima at all times and called on the beneficiaries to be grateful to God for her generosity. Mr. Lawrence Amartey the Greater Accra regional Director of the NHIS scheme said he is happy that the NHIS is working with the Ministry of Gender to reach out to the needy in our poor settlements. He also advised the beneficiaries of the NHIS cards to endeavor to keep the cards to be given them safely, away from sunshine and naked fire, in order to avoid the biometric system in them getting damaged. Because each person in Ghana deserves attention and support at all times, the NHIS will always answer the alls by the Ministry of Gender to go to the aid of the needy and the deprived in all parts of the country. A disabled who also benefited from the free registration alongside other disabled persons expressed joy for the exercise without which he and his colleagues would not have been placed on the list of persons on the NHIS.
As part of Ministry of Gender’s pro poor programs Nana Oye Lithur, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, has inaugurated the Ashiaman and Ledzekuku Municipal Social Protection Committees in Accra.
The Committee members selected from the districts assemblies are expected to facilitate targeting, identification and selection of beneficiaries to benefit from the National Health Insurance Scheme under the African Health Market Project (AHME).
The Committee members are undergoing a two-day training program to build their capacity to implement their mandate under the project.
The Committee was to facilitate institutional arrangements for effective and efficient coordination, management and implementation of social protection in the district and community level as indicated in the National Social Protection Policy.
The AHME project is an initiative of the British Government, and Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation launched in the country last year to enroll more poor and vulnerable people unto the NHIS in the next five years through the usage of technology.
It aims to increase coverage of quality healthcare within the private provider system and address priority issues that affect the poor in Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya through the provision of data and statistics to improve the identification of the poor using electronic means test system.
Speaking during the inauguration, Nana Oye Lithur, said the project is being implemented in ten districts on a pilot basis including Adaklu-Anyigbe, Ho, Ashaiman, Ledzekuku Krowor, Fanteakwa, East Akim, Ejisu Juaben, Afigya Kwabre, Bolgatanga and Kassena Nankana
She said the five year project is implemented in Ghana by a consortium of partners including the World Bank Health in Africa Initiative, Marie-Stopes International and PharmAccess Foundation.
Nana Oye Lithur said the Ministry has also adopted the electronic mode of payment for caterers under the School Feeding Program because it had proved to be efficient.
She said the School Feeding Program currently feeds about 1.7 million school children, and by the end of the year, the Ministry would enroll additional 800,000 school children, bringing the total to 2.5 million children hooked onto the Program.
She said the Ministry had since last year, collaborated with the NHIA to register people aged 65 years and above, the physically challenged and prison inmates onto the scheme.
The Gender Minister said more than 7,000 elderly persons and 6,000 prisoners have been issued with NHIS cards for free to enable them to access free healthcare.
She said the Ministry is collaborating with the National Health Insurance Authority to provide free biometric registration to vulnerable groups in society.
Nana Oye Lithur expressed gratitude to International Finance Corporation and the World Bank for their support in making their work more efficient.
Nii Afotey Agbo, Greater Accra Regional Minister, said the country in June 2016 launched the National Social Protection Policy aimed at delivering a well-coordinated and inter-sectoral social protection system that would enable people to live in dignity.
He said the system was being delivered through income support, livelihood empowerment and improved access to schemes of basic services and assured the committees of government’s support to ensure success in their work
By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai