Mr Kasimu Abudulai, the Acting Upper East Regional Director of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has called on clients to link their Ghana cards and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) identity cards, to help reduce the cost of production.

“Currently, our clients pay about GH¢ 8.00 to replace a missing or spoiled card, meanwhile the Authority spends about three times that amount to produce one card. There is a heavy subsidy and so there is the high cost incurred in producing the NHIS cards.

“We are seriously educating members of the public on the linkage, many have linked, and others are still linking. Some have challenges, so when we go for fieldwork in the communities, we support them physically to link up their cards,” he said.

Mr. Abudulai made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) after the 2021 mid-year performance review meeting of the NHIA in Bolgatanga, the Regional capital.
The review meeting, which brought together some officials of the Authority across the Region, offered them the opportunity to take stock of their mid-year activities and strategize to achieve their target by the close of 2021.

He said those who had challenges linking up the cards were supported at the District offices of the NHIA in the Region, “Our systems are updated such that if you have challenges linking on your mobile phone, then you visit our offices for support.”

Mr. Abudulai said if both cards were successfully linked, it would reduce the cost of production of NHIS cards and also enable the citizenry to access health services on one card.

He explained that as the Ghana Card was not exactly the same as the NHIS card, there were little changes in the way claims were processed, and said owing to the changes, health care facilities were trained on how to use the Ghana Card to process their claims.

On the successes of the Authority in the 2021 mid-year, the Acting Director said active membership increased from 682,334 representing 51.7 percent of the population of the Region in the first half of 2020 to 697,924, representing 52 percent of the population in the first half of 2021.

He said active membership of the vulnerable also increased from 29,619 in mid-year of 2020 to 31,983 in the period under review, while the mobile phone renewal system also increased from 153,097 to 162,388 by the close of June 2021.

Mr. Abudulai said even though the Authority had no befitting offices at the District level, staff had over the years not relented on their efforts but continued to work diligently to ensure that they achieved their targets.

“The Authority had to rent stores at a place like Sandema for them to use as offices. Bongo has a small office space which doesn’t cater for their needs. It is one of the big challenges we have in the Region,” he said.

Mr. Abudulai said there was a greater stress on Sandema and Bongo offices, “The Authority is doing its best to provide offices, but giving the type of claims that we cater for, it is not that easy to generate more resources to pay for claims and build offices.

“We want to appeal to the District Assemblies, especially for Bongo and Sandema to support us with office buildings so that our officers can operate effectively and efficiently,” the Acting Director added.