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Clinic wants NHIS extended to herbal medicine, services

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NHISAuthorities of the Aponchi Memorial Herbal Clinic has urged government to expedite action to extend the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to cover traditional herbal medicines and services.

They argued that Ghana would benefit more if traditional medicine was given a slot in the NHIS because of the efficacy of most herbal medicines as well as the less consultancy fee charged patients who access herbal treatment at such facilities.

Aponchi Herbal Clinic, located in Tema, which has been in existence since the 1970s, specialises in the  treatment of bone fractures and stroke cases.

Some past Heads of State, Ministers of state and national and international footballers are among the many Ghanaians who have benefited from the services of the Clinic.

Mr Kwasi Afriyie- Badu, Board Chairman of the Clinic led a delegation of Board members of the Clinic to the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to ascertain how soon the scheme would be expanded to cover traditional herbal medicines and services.

“We are here to know why the NHIA has not mainstreamed traditional medicine and services in the NHIS after many years of establishing the NHIA law”, Mr Afriyie- Badu asked.

He further stated that the inequity and disconnect in the management and provision of health services between orthodox medicine and traditional medicine needed to be addressed.

Mr Paul Enstie-Nyankom, Managing Director of the Clinic said most people who patronised the services at the facility were the poor who demanded from the  authorities to accept the health Insurance “but we are not able to and rather offer them free services instead”.

Mr Sylvester Mensah, Chief Executive Officer  of the NHIA said government considers traditional medicine very important and that  efforts were being made to extend the scheme to cover herbal medicine.

He said the major challenges had been on what criterion to select herbal facilities for the scheme, the benefit packages and the sustainability of the herbal facility on the scheme.

He however gave the assurance that there was an upcoming meeting to deliberate and design an Legislative Instrument (L. I.) for the new NHIS law which was enacted in December 2012.

He said the forum would consider all the issues raised and charged herbal practitioners to endeavour to send representatives to the meeting to prepare the LI which would adequately address the issues.

Source: GNA

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