Shortage of Drugs Hits NHIS in Lawra District

Holders of the National Health Insurance card living in the Lawra District in the Upper West Region have expressed worry over the lack of supply of drugs under the scheme in the district.

The citizens, mostly women and the aged, complained that though the NHIS covers some types of ailments as well as some basic drugs, often, sick patients are told by health officials at the various health facilities in the district to go and buy their drugs in town because of shortage of drugs at the various government clinics.

This they said has become extremely challenging for them and in most cases they are unable to raise money to buy the drugs.

This came to light at a community forum organized by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in Kasalgri, a community in the Lawra District.

The forum which was attended by officials of the Lawra District assembly, traditional authorities, the media and community citizens was aimed at enhancing public participation in local governance in Ghana.

One of the participants who spoke at the forum stressed that as a farmer, she has very little available to cater for herself and the family.

"Life is even more difficult for us when the harvesting period is over. We have no money except the little food we have to eat. Our hope is that when we fall sick, the NHIS will cover us especially those of us who have nothing left as cash on us. We therefore don’t have the means to go and buy our own drugs and if help does not come from anywhere it means we live with the sickness till we die," she lamented.

Addressing the forum, an official of the district assembly, Mr.  Cletus Chevuwe assured the citizens that steps are being taken to ensure that the problems confronting the health sector and other sectors in the district are attended to and resolved as quickly as possible. ‘Some of these challenges are issues we are looking into and hopefully we will find a lasting solution to them’ he remarked.

Other concerns raised by the citizens at the forum included the inadequate boreholes in the community, rampant bush burning that tend to destroy a lot of farms and the bad nature of their roads.

A programme officer of MFWA, Mr. Philip Acquaye explained that there is the need for local citizens to be encouraged to actively participate in governance at the local level.

"This way, it makes policies and programmes of the district become more representative," he remarked.

He said the MFWA is commited to ensuring that platforms in the media space are effectively utilized by citizens to engage local authorities on pertinent issues that confront their communities, effectively contribute to the formulation of policies at the local level of governance and demand accountability of the use of their resources.