A special national health insurance registration exercise organized in Navio of the Kassena Nankana West District, saw 593 new entrants with 491 people renewing their cards at the weekend.
The exercise, aimed to increase enrollment of people to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in the district, was undertaken in four centres namely Navio, Manyoro, Atiyorum and Kayoro.
It was also to help Scheme members who have defaulted to take the opportunity to renew their insurance cards.
Mr David Samari, the Scheme Manager, who spoke to journalists during the exercise, said the exercise granted special package to defaulters who normally would have waited for a period of three months before accessing healthcare to use their cards immediately.
Mr Anthony Agabeh, a Scheme collector at Manyoro, thanked government for making the exercise free and also bringing it close to the people.
He said the area was poverty endemic and made it difficult for the people mobilize money to pay for renewal of their cards to receive health care hence the high rates of default.
He called on government to endeavor to relax the Scheme where defaulters who renew their registrations still had to wait for three months before accessing health care services.
Madam Watah Aberinga, 77 years, whose card expired in 2011, said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency that she did not register over the period because she did not fall sick.
Forty one year old Madam Kapiu Alou said she did not have money to pay for the cost of renewal and so the exercise offered her the opportunity to be on the Scheme again. She thanked government for the exercise.
Navio Pe Adam Asanjojim II, chief of Navio, appealed to government to extend the exercise to reach all who could not afford to pay because the district was poor.
He prayed health providing institutions and their workers to make the scheme sustainable by offering quality services to beneficiaries.
He indicated that many people were discouraged using their cards to access health services because of poor quality of services in some health centers.