- On May 29, 2020
Photo Credit: SEND GHANA
By Adamu Mukaila, Civil Society Advisor, P4H
“I wouldn’t be alive today had People for Health (P4H) not intervened to renew my expired NHIS Card. I could not have paid for my surgery, which cost not less than GH 1,100.00. I am very grateful,” said Agnes Ameko, a resident of Wumenu in Adaklu, Volta region.
Recounting how difficult life has become since the demise of her husband, the 62-year-old widow said she survives on selling fowls that earn very little income. She frequently fell sick and unable to settle her hospital bills. On one occasion, for instance, she was seriously sick and admitted for a week. After she was discharged, she could not pay the bills and was detained in the hospital.
A Good Samaritan saw her predicament and helped to register her onto the NHIS. Agnes and the Good Samaritan were unaware that by her impoverished condition, she was qualified for free enrolment and so he paid for the registration. For a year, she used the card to access healthcare but it expired. Agnes could not raise money for the renewal. “What will happen to me when I fall ill?” she often asked herself. The Good Samaritan had left the community but Agnes is most thankful to God P4H came to her in 2018.
P4H collaborated with DCMCs, assembly members, NHIS and the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) to identify extremely poor persons (indigents) in deprived communities to register them freely onto the NHIS. Agnes was lucky to be part of the over 5,000 vulnerable persons who were identified and registered. The beneficiaries of the free registration/renewal included widows, senior citizens, physically challenged and pregnant women, who did not know about the Free Maternal Health Programme.
A twenty-five (25) year old disabled Oscar who also benefited from the free renewal of his NHIS card, just like Agnes, was unaware that he is entitled to free NHIS registration and renewal and so, in his own words “I struggled to pay the registration fee in 2016.”
Over the years, Oscar relied on the support of his friends to renew his health insurance card, but now, he is grateful to P4H for helping him restore his dignity.
“I used to beg money from friends to renew my card each time it expired,” Oscar said. “I will be very happy if you could extend your programme to cover more communities in Adaklu district so that my friends who are in similar difficulties will also benefit.”