ICT Africa Headline News

Ghana: Tamale Hospital Threatens to Turn Away NHIs Card Holders

05 March, 2013
Edmond Gyebi, The Chronicle
March 5, 2013

Tamale — Beneficiaries of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in Tamale and its surrounding communities are likely to be turned away by the authorities at the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) due to the non-payment of outstanding claims by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).

The NHIA owes the hospital GH¢2,200,000 for services rendered between September 2012 to January 2013. About 90% of patients who seek healthcare at the Tamale Teaching Hospital are card bearing members of the NHIS.

Speaking at the 2012 Annual Performance Review Meeting, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Tamale Teaching Hospital, Dr. Ken Sagoe, disclosed that the delay in the payment of the claims had compounded the financial burdens of the hospital, and also put pressure on the meager Internally Generated Funds.

He, therefore, appealed to the NHIA to consider reimbursing the hospital, in order for it to continue to offer quality health delivery to the people.

The purpose of the Annual Performance Review Meeting was to assess the performance of the Tamale Teaching Hospital for the year 2012, share and exchange views, and chart the way forward for the year 2013 and beyond.

Dr. Sagoe said that funding from the central government budget had reduced considerably, and this required that the hospital depend on its Internally Generated Funds this year.

According to him, the Tamale Teaching Hospital, in 2012, spent over GH¢450,000 to rent and maintain accommodation for some key staff, and an additional GH¢1,200,000 to retain essential staff.

On utilities, Dr. Sagoe lamented: "The water crisis has been with us for a long time, and does not seem to end. We spent up to 30% of our fuel cost in 2012 in fueling tankers of other government departments to supply us with water, in addition to buying more than GH¢5,000 a month from commercial water tankers. Let me singularly commend the National Fire Service for unparalleled support and partnership. In this regard, we appealed to the Minister of Health for a water tanker, and plans are far advanced to procure one for us. The wheels of procurement grind slowly. Regular, uninterrupted and stable electricity supply continues to elude us, and the toll on our generators by way of wear and tear and fuel cost is very high. The significant fluctuation in power and the 'dum so', 'dum so' has also damaged some of our equipment."

However, the year 2012, according to the CEO, saw some significant achievements, including the rehabilitation and expansion project, which recorded a major landmark with the completion and partial handing over of the new Block E. The building provides services for emergency medicine, radiology and other imaging facilities, general wards, intensive care unit, and a modern theatre with cutting edge/state-of-the-art equipment.

He said that the Staff Housing Project, meant to accommodate up to 60 professional staff and their families, had also seen significant development, as all the project structures have been roofed, and expected to be completed by the middle of this year.

The hospital also took delivery of over 160 desktop computers and 30 laptops, several servers, and Cisco switches and routers from a Ghanaian ICT Consultant based in Holland, Mr. Clement Adu-Twum, of the ROC Mondriaan, which has made the hospital's ICT infrastructure one of the best in Ghana.

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