July 25, 2024
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NHIS should pick dialysis cost – Oppong Nkrumah says ‘we need to take NHIS Fund financing a lot more seriously’

The National Health Insurance Scheme should cover dialysis for kidney failure patients, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has said.

Speaking on the recent 100 per cent price hike from GH¢385 to GH¢765 for dialysis announced by the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and subsequent calls for the scrapping of taxes on dialysis consumables and the covering of the treatment under the NHIS, Mr Nkrumah said on Monday, 2 October 2023 that the “government is waiting on the management of Korle Bu to complete its internal work and come forward with what its position is”.

“The conversation has been going on, and I, personally, suggested that whatever the amount comes to, it is a matter that the NHIS Fund should be able to pick up”, he said. 

The Ofoase-Ayirebi MP said: “To achieve that, we need to take a lot more seriously the financing of the NHIS Fund to take up incidents like this”. “The amount is not something an individual will be able to cater for considering the number of dialyses one has to go through in a month, without draining their finances extensively”, he observed.

He said there was a need for an improvement in contributions to the NHIS Fund so as to make it feasible for the NHIS to cover dialysis.

“Today, the non-Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributor is paying GHS28 as an annual premium, and the SSNIT contributor is paying GHS8 as an annual premium. This is woefully inadequate”, he noted. 

He added: “The NHIS levy that is collected on behalf of the NHIS Fund is not automatically remitted to the NHIS Fund. I believe that is something we also have a look at”. 

Also, Mr Oppong Nkrumah said: “We have never remitted 100% to the Fund since its introduction by former President Kufuor”, noting: “I don’t think it’s honestly proper for us to collect monies in the name of the Fund and not remit those monies to the Fund”. 

“And, it’s something both the National Democratic Congress and New Patriotic Party have been doing since the days of former President Kufuor”, pointing out: “We need to bring some automaticity to the amount of monies we collect on behalf of the Fund. If you do it this way, we can have money from the Fund that can take care of these costs”, Mr Oppong Nkrumah told Accra-based Citi FM.

Since May this year, 14 renal patients have died following the shutdown of the Korle Bu Renal Unit, according to the Renal Patients Association.

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