Gender Ministry conducts free NHIS registration for elderly persons in 3 Northern Regions

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has extended the free National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) registration of elderly persons to the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions.

Already, more than 10,000 elderly persons in the Greater Accra, Eastern, Volta, Central, Western and the Ashanti Regions have been registered free of charge onto the programme.

The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, led the team to register the elderly persons in the three regions of the north. She said, the programme is a demonstration of the continuous resolve of the Government to ensure that the elderly in the society are well taken care of.

“Our coming here today is a continuation of the Government’s numerous interventions for the welfare of the elderly who spent their youthful years to build this nation. Today we shall make presentations to our mothers and fathers and register them free of charge onto NHIS so that they can access free healthcare”, she said.

Outlining the several social intervention programmes for the elderly, such as the Livelihood and Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP, EBAN Welfare Card, establishment of the Ageing Council and Desk and the signing of MoU to provide Geriatic care, the Minister stated that the Government of President Mahama is happy to put smiles on the faces of the elderly for their contributions to society.

“We are also making sure that ageing should no longer be a dreaded experience. We believe that as we consolidate and strengthen our social protection systems to provide as safety net that ensures inclusiveness, many more excluded and vulnerable people would enjoy a better life”.

Nana Oye Lithur also revealed that this year holds a lot of promise for older persons in Ghana, saying her Ministry will organize a National Ageing Policy and Pensions Conference to bring all stakeholders together to share ideas on best practices for caring for elderly persons.

She hinted that her Ministry has presented drafting instructions to the Attorney General to draft the Ageing Bill, and that should be presented to Cabinet by the end of this quarter. “The Ministry will work to ensure that the Bill is passed by Parliament. When passed the Act will see to the establishment of an Aged Fund which will be used to address ageing challenges and create a social safety net for older persons”.

On his part the Director of Memberships and Regional Operations at the National Health Insurance Authority, Ben Kusi, said that as at December 2015 the NHIS had registered about 1.5million extremely poor and vulnerable people across the country for free.

This figure, he said includes people from special homes like the leprosaria, prisons and mental health hospitals and indigents. “Such free enrolment exercises are in furtherance of the Scheme’s social protection mandate” he noted. The Upper East Regional Minister, James Tiiga, applauded the Gender Ministry for the various social intervention policies and programmes.

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