Free NHIS registration for the aged in Wa

More than five hundred aged women and men in the Wa Municipality have been registered unto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) free of charge by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.

At a ceremony on Wednesday in Wa to register the aged, Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, said government was determined to ensure that the elderly in Ghana were well taken care of.

In that regard, government had begun a nationwide rollout of the EBAN Elderly Welfare Cards to enable the aged to get priority access in banking halls, hospitals and also get 50 percent rebate on Metro Mass Transit Buses.

Madam Lithur said so far 9,526 elderly persons in the Central, Western, Volta, Eastern and Greater Accra Regions had been issued with the cards, while those in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions would have their turn soon.

She announced that government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last year with some institutions from Denmark to provide geriatric care services in Ghana.

The Gender Minister said the agreement would help address the healthcare needs of the elderly and that a technical team would soon present an implementation plan of the MOU for consideration.

She said the agreement would result in financial and technical support for Geriatric Education by mainstreaming it into the nursing and medical curriculum in Ghana.

She said government has also inaugurated the Ageing Council, which has the responsibility to regulate the implementation of the National Ageing Policy, while the Ageing Desk has been established at the Ministry to address issues on the aged.

Madam Lithur said the Ministry would organise a National Ageing Policy and Pension Conference this year to bring all stakeholders together to share ideas on best practices for caring for older persons.

The Ministry has also submitted drafting instructions to the Attorney General’s Department for the development of the Ageing Bill, which she said had been finalized and would be presented to Cabinet in the first quarter of 2016.

Madam Lithur said when the Bill is passed, it would see to the establishment of an aged fund which would create a social safety net for older persons.

These interventions are to help eliminate the challenges of exclusion, marginalization, degrading treatment, lack of income security, as well as lack of access to health, housing and many other challenges faced by the aged.

Mr. Issahaku Nuhu-Putiaha, the Wa Municipal Chief Executive said 99 per cent of the people in the Region were poor and in dire need of potable water, access to education and health facilities to improve their lots.

He commended the Ministry for extending the intervention to the aged in the Municipality and others such as the LEAP and School Feeding Programmes that were helping to address extreme poverty challenges.

An official from the Regional Health Directorate said out of the 21,085 patients who attended the Wa Regional Hospital in 2015, 11 per cent of the total Out Patient Department attendances were older persons. GNA

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