More than 6,000 prison inmates nationwide have been enrolled onto the free biometric National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), to access quality healthcare services.
The initiative, which is a collaboration between the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) and the Ghana Prison Service, would provide medical care to all vulnerable persons in the society.
The beneficiaries include the aged, Persons with Disability (PWDs) and prison inmates across the country.
Addressing inmates at the Sekondi Central Prisons on Friday, Nana Oye Lithur, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, said Government was committed to provide quality healthcare to all marginalized, disadvantaged and poor in the society.
“Our coming here, therefore, is a demonstration of the commitment of Government to carry everybody along the path of socio-economic freedom”, she said.
She said the constitution of the country required that the state provides all the necessary action and adequate means of livelihood, suitable employment and public assistance to the needy saying the initiative, therefore, was a manifestation of government’s commitment of ensuring the welfare of the citizenry.
The Minister said since last year, the Ministry and other stakeholders had registered nearly 10,000 elderly persons under the NHIS in the Greater Accra, Volta, Eastern, Ashanti and Central regions.
The registration of prison inmates onto the Scheme christened: “Efiase Project” is expected to register 1,310 inmates in the Western Region, including 755 in Sekondi Central Prisons, 134 at Ekuase Settlement Camp, 27 inmates at the Sekondi Female Prisons, 280 in Tarkwa Local Prisons and 114 in the Hiawa Settlement Prisons.
Nana Oye Lithur said the initiative had resulted in the accreditation of the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons infirmary to accept NHIS cards and hoped all other health facilities in the country’s prisons would be accredited to offer free healthcare to inmates.
She expressed optimism that it would enhance the reformation of inmates in the country’s prisons and implored other corporate institutions to support a worthy cause, saying “Government will continue to look for other efficient ways to make Ghana’s prisons centre of excellence”.
Mr Emmanuel Yao Adzator, Director in charge of Finance and Administration at the Ghana Prisons Service, said the initiative would provide relief to inmates and prison personnel in line with the government quest of ensuring an efficient healthcare delivery.
He said since the inception of the registration in September this year, 2,500 inmates had been registered at the Kumasi Prisons, over 1,500 inmates at Nsawam Prisons, while other inmates at Koforidua and Ankaful were being registered under the Scheme.
He said the move would reduce the cost of providing healthcare to inmates and help promote best international practices in the country’s prisons.
Mr Ben Kusi, who is in charge of Membership and Regional Operations at the NHIA, said the exercise conformed with the Authority’s mandate of ensuring quality healthcare delivery and ensure the protection of the vulnerable in the society.
The NHIS covers over 10.54 million people across the country out of whom 70 percent were in the exempt category.
In 2014 alone, the Scheme registered 1.5 million vulnerable people free of charge onto the Scheme. GNA